How to Market Your Clothing Brand Online, Step by Step
Have you launched the clothing brand of your dreams? Amazing work — and now it’s time to get your dream customers to purchase and wear your items.
But marketing an online clothing store can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just dipping your toes in the online marketing world. Let’s take it one step at a time and go through 17 marketing ideas for clothing brands of all shapes and sizes.
Why should you market your clothing brand?
Starting a clothing brand on its own is no small feat. But I’m guessing you launched your brand to get your clothes in customers' hands, right?
Unless you’re already a widely known influencer, people won’t find your brand by accident.
You may get a few sales here and there by talking to your family and friends, but marketing is crucial to getting any substantial number of customers through your virtual (or physical) doors.
Whether you’re marketing your clothing brand exclusively online or not, you’ll have competition because the fashion industry is still growing. In fact, it’s expected to grow by 6.1% from 2022 to 2023 – so if you want a piece of that pie, you need to get your brand out there.
But not all marketing endeavors serve the same purpose. You must consider where your potential customers are in the buyer’s journey, which is why this guide is separated into three distinct steps:
Step 1: Drive visitors to your website
Before someone is ready to buy, they need to get to know your brand and engage with your content.
Step 2: Convert visitors into customers
The first purchase is the most difficult to obtain from your visitors, which is why you need several elements in place to optimize your online clothing store for conversions.
Step 3: Turn customers into repeat buyers
It costs 5 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones, and existing customers spend 31% more. So once you’ve generated first-time sales, nurturing that relationship, in the long run, is key to sustainable growth.
Ready to start?
Let’s get into it.
Step 1: Drive website visitors and build your audience
Traffic is your first step. If there are no visitors – there are no sales.
1. Start building your brand and your audience before you launch your store
You don’t need to wait until you’re ready to launch and sell your products before building your brand. Ideally, you should start building an audience before you launch your first product.
For example, if you’re still in the process of setting up your website, you can create a Coming Soon page and invite people to the waitlist:
If you’ve already launched your clothing brand, you can skip this step. On the other hand, if you’re still in the pre-launch phase, take this opportunity to generate interest in your brand.
To incentivize those first subscriptions, you can offer an early-bird discount or exclusive access to the new collection.
Another channel to help you get started is social media. For instance, you can create your business profiles right away, and even if your website isn’t live yet, you can add a link to a simple waiting list page. People will be able to sign up to be the first to get the news when you launch.
Plus, it’s easy to create a waitlist page without website hosting! You can use a free service like Getform to launch a simple yet beautiful form page to build your waitlist:
So what else can you post on social media if you haven’t even launched yet? You can start telling the story of why you’re launching this brand and what you envision it to become. If you have prototypes for your first clothing items, don’t be afraid to show them off.
Here’s an example of a newly launched brand, The House of Thea. Their very first post is a simple “launching soon” announcement:
But as you scroll through their prelaunch content, you’ll also find brand-building content that establishes who they are and what they represent. For instance, their second post explains the story behind the name.
You can also get a sneak peek of the clothes they are planning to launch in their first collection.
Plus, they didn’t wait until their website was complete to start taking orders. As you can see in their Instagram bio, they’re selling on Instagram without a website by using DMs.
2. Prioritize list-building
Social media is a powerful audience-building tool. But you should also prioritize building your email list.
When you’re in pre-launch, you can use your waitlist as an email list. But after you launch, there are several ways you can turn your social media profiles and your website into a conversion-optimized list-building engine.
For instance, you can implement email popups throughout your website.
You’ll need to give people a reason to provide you with their email addresses — like a lead magnet. In the ecommerce apparel world, you can use lead magnets such as:
- purchase discounts
- free shipping coupons
- giveaways and sweepstakes
- sample giveaways
- fashion tips
But why is it so important to grow your email list? First off, you can retain people who aren’t yet ready to buy, but who are willing to provide their email address.
This means you make the most of your traffic. It’s a much easier commitment for people to give you their email address than to give you their money.
Later, you can send emails to invite your subscribers to promotions and other events for your online clothing store.
If you’re intimidated by creating email opt-in forms and popups, you don’t have to be! Getsitecontrol makes it easy for newbies and experienced designers alike to create and implement stunning popups on your clothing brand website without writing a single line of code.
3. Craft a clear UVP (unique value proposition) for your brand
Why should customers purchase your clothing instead of going to your competitor's website?
Every long-lasting brand has a clear unique value proposition (UVP). Writing a unique value proposition helps your brand stand out and gives your audience a reason to stick with you.
To brainstorm ideas for your UVP, ask yourself:
- What led you to launch this brand the way you did?
- Is there something unique about the fabric or the design of your clothes?
- How do your clothes get made? Is it different from how big brands manufacture their apparel?
- What specific customer does your clothing line target, and how will purchasing these clothes impact their day-to-day lives?
- What is the environmental impact of your brand?
- What common issues do people have with other items of this type, and how does your clothing brand overcome these issues?
Once you have your UVP, you’ll use it to guide every piece of content you create. For instance, you can display a version of your UVP on your home page.
Below, you can see this brand’s UVP: “Ethically made, thoughtfully designed.”
You can also showcase your UVP on your social media profiles, just like Knix:
Every time you create a new social media post, email newsletter, or product page, you can refer back to your unique value proposition to make sure everything is in line. If your brand is unfocused, your audience will struggle to understand what your brand stands for and what makes it special.
4. Launch paid ad campaigns
Organic social media works well, but it requires a ton of time to get any traction. That’s why most marketing strategies for clothing brands include advertising, especially in the early stages.
Yes, paid ads cost money. But they also save you time.
Plus, you can start small and scale over time as you validate what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s what to keep in mind when launching ads to sell clothing — you likely won’t make any money on front-end sales. In truth, you’ll likely spend more on each sale than your average order value.
When you look at it from that perspective alone, it doesn’t make sense to run ads at all! However, ads are great to acquire first-time customers. If you do your best to retain those customers and make more sales in the back end, you’ll be able to make a positive return on your investment.
Consider adding upsells, downsells, and other offers in the pipeline when you run ads for an item of clothing. This will help you increase your average order value and work towards developing a self-liquidating funnel — which will let you acquire customers nearly for free.
If you have a small budget to work with, try the following approach to nurture a warm audience that’s interested in your clothing brand:
- Launch video ads showcasing your products: Instead of relying only on image ads, try implementing video ads in the mix. Video ads catch the eye, but you can also keep track of the people who watch.
- Retarget people who watched at least 25% of your video ads: If people stop scrolling and watch your videos, they’re probably interested in your brand. Retarget these people with additional offers. You can spend as little as $2 a day per ad when you’re retargeting and still get good traction.
- Retarget people who interacted with your social media accounts and/or website: Video viewers aren’t the only warm audience you can leverage. Consider retargeting those who organically interacted with your content.
- Run parallel offers: Whenever you launch a new promotion to your email list, launch an ad and retarget everyone on your list. Because not everyone opens your emails, you’ll make sure more people see your promotion — without breaking the bank.
Keep in mind that you can deploy the above strategy on any social media platform that sells ad space, including but not limited to:
Start with one platform depending on where your audience hangs out — and scale to other platforms once you’re getting a solid return.
5. Partner with micro-influencers
Ads aren’t the only way to generate traffic and grow your clothing brand. Your ideal customers are already engaging with influencers on their favorite social media platforms, which means you can partner with them to reach that audience directly.
But large influencers may not be an attainable goal for a partner when you’re a smaller clothing brand. Instead, consider finding micro-influencers who share common values with your brand.
Micro-influencers have more followers than regular people, but they’re not “celebrities” by any means. They’ll usually have between 1000 and 100,000 followers on one or more social media platforms.
The smaller the influencer, the more they’re able to interact with the people in the audience on a personal level. So while a micro-influencer won’t have the same presence as a larger influencer, they may have a more powerful impact on their audience in the first place.
You’ll get less reach, but if you partner with the right micro-influencer, you’ll get more engagement.
Make sure you reach out to micro-influencers who’ve built an audience that can relate to your brand. For instance, if you have an eco-conscious clothing brand, look for micro-influencers who make eco-conscious decisions and talk about it in their posts. Without this element in place, you’re unlikely to get enough engagement for your investment.
6. Leverage shoppable posts on Pinterest
Did you know that 433 million people use Pinterest to make purchase decisions? And that 31% of people from the US with a household income of over $100k are on Pinterest?
People who use Pinterest are planning for the future — whether it’s an upcoming event or a brand-new wardrobe. This means this demographic is more intent on discovering new brands and making purchasing decisions than someone who’s just scrolling through social media for funny content.
You can pin content that links back to your clothing items, but you can also create shoppable pins. These types of pins display the price of your items and make it easier than ever to buy from you.
Remember that Pinterest behaves more like a search engine than a social media platform. That’s why it’s important to include relevant keywords in all your pins — otherwise, your target audience won’t find your content.
Pinning is free, although it’s time-consuming to make several pins a day. If you have the bandwidth, you can hire a social media manager specializing in Pinterest. Alternatively, you can advertise on Pinterest and speed up the process of generating traffic.
Step 2: Convert visitors into customers
So you’ve gotten people to land on your ecommerce website and browse through your clothing items. Now it’s time to convert them into buyers ✨
1. Come up with welcome offers to convert first-time visitors
From the first day you launch, you should have a plan for how to welcome first-time visitors to your site. People who shop on your clothing store site for the first time have to decide to spend money with you instead of with the last clothing brand they bought from… so will you make it worth the switch?
If you’ve been targeting relevant traffic who’s interested in the types of clothes you sell, you’re already one step ahead. But you also need to give your visitors irresistible offers.
A common offer to give new visitors is a coupon deal for their first purchase, which you can also use as a lead magnet:
Want to add a welcome popup like this one to your store? Click on any of these templates and follow the prompts to create an account. The entire process will take you less than 20 minutes:
You can always play around with other offers, such as:
- Free shipping over a minimum order value
- Buy one get one free
- Free accessory when they purchase over a minimum order value (or a minimum number of clothing items)
- Get double, triple, or more points on a first purchase
- Bundle products together
- Implement “try before you buy” offers
- Enter a giveaway when you make your first purchase
These are only some ideas, but feel free to explore more online promotion ideas in this blog post.
2. Optimize your product pages for sales
In theory, all your customers are supposed to make a purchase after reading a description of your item and following the checkout steps. In practice, only a small percentage of people will complete the process.
There are several tricks you can employ to increase your checkout conversions.
First, make sure you connect as many payment options as you can. Some people only buy online with PayPal, while others hate using PayPal and only want to use their credit cards. Many buyers prefer the ease of e-wallets.
Apart from payment options, you should also add as much information as possible on your page without overwhelming your customers. For instance, take a look at the product page below from Franc. We can see the item has an average of 5-stars from a total of 22 reviews, which provides social proof. But they also made additional information, like fabric care and shipping info, collapsible.
This means the info is readily available but doesn’t overcrowd the screen.
The brand also includes a “You may also like” section just below the product section in case someone wants to add more clothing items to their purchase. This can help increase the average order value.
Make your reviews available on the same page as your product so new visitors can scroll through and read all the positive comments. When someone’s on the fence about buying from you, it’ll help them to see other real people are happy with their choice.
3. Use scarcity and urgency throughout your marketing
People get distracted when they buy. And when they’re scrolling through their inbox or their social media, they’ve got several other brands, influencers, and news outlets screaming for their attention.
So why should they buy from you NOW and not later?
Clothing brands run frequent sales and promotions because they provide urgency. Although you’ll have other promotions later, you may not promote that same exact product at such a high discount, which can drive customers to make the most of it right away.
Each time you run a promotion, make sure to let people know how long it’s running for. If you have limited inventory, make that abundantly clear, too.
Although you can plan your promotional content in advance, make sure to be proactive and come up with new content to keep people updated. For instance, if you notice you’re quickly running out of everyone’s favorite dress in the most popular color, send out a new email and/or social media post to let people know.
Giving transparency on low stock adds scarcity to your promotion — especially if you have limited edition pieces available. Customers know that this may be the only chance they’ll ever have to snag this particular item.
Want to try a sales promotion popup like the one featured above? Use this template, already pre-designed for the occasion:
4. Implement an abandoned cart email sequence
The majority of people who add something to their cart won’t complete their purchase. Average cart abandonment rates are crazy high — between 57.60% and 84.27% of people, on average, will leave their items behind!
And unfortunately, fashion is one of the industries with the highest rate of cart abandonment, with a whopping 88.46%.
But you don’t have to lose these potential first-time customers forever. Although you won’t reclaim every lost buyer, you can send out an abandoned cart email sequence to remind people of what they left behind.
Make these emails dynamic so they can display the exact items left in someone’s cart. Remember that not everyone abandons their cart because they don’t want to purchase — some people just get distracted before they get a chance to check out.
When people see an image of their forgotten item, they’ll get back on track and remember why they adored this item in the first place.
5. Ask customers for reviews
One of the first marketing strategies for your clothing store you should implement on day 1 is to ask customers for reviews. Positive reviews will help you get the social proof you need to convert more first-time buyers.
Plus, reviews make powerful user-generated content. Not only can you publish them on your website, but you can repurpose reviews on your social media platforms.
Below, you can see what reviews look like in Instagram Stories:
All you have to do to generate reviews is set up an automated post-purchase email sequence. After a set number of days, you can ask people for a review. Just make sure to give enough time for the items to arrive and for people to try it on.
6. Survey abandoning customers to discover sales roadblocks
There may be some problems your potential customers keep running into that are stopping them from buying. And if you’re on your own (or have a small team), you may not have the resources necessary to perform elaborate quality assurance and user testing on your Ecommerce website.
Who better to tell you about these problems than the people experiencing them?
Instead of guessing why your conversions are low, you can create abandonment surveys and let them trigger on exit intent. Here is an example of such a survey:
Using these surveys, you can ask people why they decided not to purchase today.
Not everyone will answer. But the answers you do get will help you invest your time and money in the right place. For instance, you may realize most of your customers use their mobile devices to shop and struggle to navigate your menus correctly.
7. Email your list consistently
As you grow your email list, you should send regular marketing emails to your entire list. Although you should definitely segment your list (more on that later), it’s important to stay top of mind for all your subscribers.
This means you shouldn’t just use your emails for abandoned cart sequences or post-purchase emails.
If you struggle with consistency, plan a schedule ahead of time and stick to it. You can email your subscribers about relevant promotions coming their way, but you can also educate them on some clothing items they may not know about.
However, you can send emails about more than just promotions. For instance, Knix regularly sends updates about their blog, The Lift:
While this type of content doesn’t generate conversions right away, it can help nurture your subscribers and build trust in your brand. This is also known as content marketing.
💡 If you’re looking for more examples, check out these fashion brand newsletters to inspire your own.
Step 3: Turn customers into repeat buyers
It’s not time to slow down once someone makes their first purchase — quite the contrary! When properly nurtured, a one-time customer can become a powerful ambassador for your entire brand.
1. Create a welcome email sequence
Whether someone just made a purchase or joined your email list, make sure you give them a warm welcome into your brand’s world. You can do this by writing an automated welcome sequence.
There are several approaches you can take in these emails. For example, Encircled explains its unique value proposition to new subscribers while also reminding them of their welcome coupon:
But here are some more ideas to implement in a welcome sequence:
Remind them before their welcome coupon expires
Add lookbooks to inspire them for their next purchase
Share more information about how they can style their purchase
Give insight on why you founded this clothing brand
Tell happy customer stories
Showcase your best-selling products
Ask them segmentation questions (style preferences, favorite colors, etc)
Don’t be afraid to show yourself as the founder. When your customers see there’s a person behind the brand, you’ll feel more like a friend than a cold, distant business.
2. Launch a loyalty program
Loyalty programs encourage your customers to keep buying with you, again and again. But they also encourage shoppers to spend more.
There are several ways to build a loyalty program. Some clothing brands give cash back when people purchase a certain amount.
On the other hand, you can create a point system to let shoppers choose rewards. It’s up to you to decide whether you want points to expire or not.
You can get creative with how your customers can earn points. Some examples include (but aren’t limited to):
- X number of points for every dollar spent
- A bunch of points when they spend over a certain amount for the first time
- Birthday points
- A bunch of points for every type of item they buy
You can also provide better perks for customers who spend more each year! For instance, take a look at Knix’s tiered rewards system:
Not sure how to structure your reward system? If you already have a customer base, don’t hesitate to send them a survey to ask what they’d like to see.
3. Implement a referral and/or affiliate program
Loyalty programs aren’t the only way to reward returning customers and loyal fans. Some of your biggest customers may also enjoy suggesting your store to their friends.
You can reward this behavior by implementing a referral or affiliate program.
Here’s the biggest difference between both types of programs:
- Referral: Existing customers who refer people they know to your store get rewarded with coupons or free products.
- Affiliate: Existing customers OR third-party affiliates who market your products to generate an additional income. Instead of winning extra benefits, they’ll usually get a commission from your sales.
Both types of programs can be useful for marketing your clothing brand, but referral programs make the most of the customers you already have. An affiliate program can help you tap into other people’s audiences in exchange for a cut of your sales.
If you want to launch a referral program, make sure you clearly outline how it works so no one gets frustrated. You can email your subscribers and add a new page on your website to advertise this new program.
4. Send segmented emails
Last but not least, you can retain more customers when you send them more targeted emails. Instead of sending the same cookie-cutter promotions to everyone, start segmenting people based on past purchases and behaviors.
If a portion of your audience only purchases your dresses, you could run a targeted promotion only for these people while you run a secondary promotion for those who constantly buy shirts.
Alternatively, you can send dynamic emails that’ll change depending on which products people interact with the most.
Market your clothing brand no matter your budget
It may look easier to market a clothing brand if you have a huge budget — but the benefit of starting small is that you can take a more intimate and targeted approach to your customers. Instead of trying to tackle everything on this list at once, start with the essentials — like growing an email list.
Getsitecontrol can help you handle that – and much more. In addition to pop-up email forms, it allows you to create sales promo popups, free shipping notifications, cart abandonment popups, and more. Start using Getsitecontrol for free to turn your clothing website into a high-converting machine.
Charlene Boutin is a freelance content writer & email marketing strategist for hire specializing in helping Ecommerce and SaaS businesses increase conversions by growing authentic relationships with their audience. She loves helping business owners tell their unique stories to capture the hearts of more customers.
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You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Ecommerce marketing section.