Having models showcasing their creations on the catwalk in front of flashing cameras, and a front row filled with celebrities is every emerging fashion designer’s dream.
But, ask any designer who’s had their share of Fashion Week, and they’ll tell you that they didn’t graduate from fashion school and immediately burst onto the scene in a big way.
Most come from far less glamorous beginnings, investing years of hard work into their label before they’re given their big break. And getting to that point requires knowing how to get their name out there.
So how do you market yourself as a designer, especially considering that you might not have a budget to spend on traditional advertising channels? The internet is a huge opportunity for you to promote your brand – it’s cost-effective, can be implemented quickly, and has a wide reach. Here are a few great ways to attract attention online and generate excitement about your fashion label, according to Hippo.co.za.
Establish your online presence with a strong, professional website. Nowadays, building a business website or eCommerce store is not as hard as you think. It doesn’t cost much to set up and you don’t even need to have coding or web design skills – all it takes is finding a website builder that’s not too complex such as Wix or WordPress. If you have a brick-and-mortar store and Business Insurance, you might want to find out if your policy will cover your website in the event that a software crash or cyber-attack causes you to lose income.
When customising your site, be sure to include all the basic elements – your ‘About Me’ page, contact details, and an obvious call-to-action. You might also improve your discoverability and attract more customers if you’ve done your search engine optimisation right, targeting appropriate keywords and implementing them in your metadata and page copy.
Almost all fashion websites now feature an interactive lookbook. A lookbook is a collection of high quality images that display your clothing line, immersing customers in a rich visual experience. Design your own lookbook and make it the focus of attention on your homepage.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have shaken up the fashion industry in recent years. An increasing number of designers are tapping the opportunity presented by visual content to promote their business (to illustrate this – it’s been proven that an image on Facebook attracts 50% more likes and shares than a text-based post).
Interactivity is another reason why social media is so effective. You can design a new clothing line and show it to the world on social media, and customers can instantly comment on your creations. As more social followers discuss your collection you could see your brand mentions increasing online.
But, don’t forget the social aspect of social media. It’s not always about your product; think about topics that engage your followers in fun ways, such as styling tips and inspirational quotes from famous designers.
Once you’ve positioned yourself on social media, you could consider hosting a giveaway on Facebook/Instagram. Lots of fashion brands have turned to online giveaways to create buzz around their product, boost engagement (likes, comments and shares), and achieve a better organic reach.
The most popular type of giveaway is offering one of your fashion items for free if your followers share a specific post. Whichever giveaway you’re choosing, be sure that you’re informed about the social platform’s rules for running contests. Facebook, for example, does not allow things like “tag your friends in this post to enter”.
Fashion bloggers and influencers
Identify some fashion or beauty bloggers you admire and who might be willing to collaborate with your brand. Remember that these influencers will only show interest if your brand represents their niche and is of value to their audience. So, it’s important that you approach influencers who have a similar style to your clothing line.
Working with relevant fashion bloggers will help build your brand credibility and get your designs noticed by people who are more likely to buy from you. But, don’t just offer them a partnership right off the bat – start by following them on social media and commenting on their posts. Once you’re a regular voice on their social media, you can reach out to them for a collaboration. You could, for example, sponsor a styling tutorial by making your designs available, or simply send a blogger/influencer a piece of clothing that reflects the latest trend. When you’ve established a relationship with the influencer, you might earn more natural and frequent mentions of your brand.
Success in the fashion industry is not easy to crack. Not only are you up against brands with big budgets but also with hundreds of emerging creatives wiggling their way to the top. That’s the less exciting part of trying to get your designs noticed. The good news is that the fashion industry is always on the lookout for the next big thing. Online marketing can increase brand awareness among customers and the who’s who of the fashion world.