Do you want to start marketing your brand, but don't know where to start? It can seem pretty intimidating, and more than anything, expensive! Marketing your brand doesn't have to break the bank. There are plenty of smart and strategic ways you can go about getting your brand out there!
Understanding your niche is super important. Let's say your apparel company revolves around trail running and the culture that goes along with it. It's your job to figure out what kind of people would be interested in your products. Luckily, if you are making shirts for people who are trail runners, you are likely a trail runner too! It definitely gives you a leg up if you are the kind of person you are trying to sell your products to. Where do you, and your future customers hang out online? You can probably find popular forums, Facebook groups, Reddit threads, and other online communities to join and become an active part of. You might already be a member of some! Use these communities to build your brand.
Tip: Establish yourself in these places. Become part of the community before you start mentioning your products. Let it come up organically! You don't want it to come off as spam!
Creating and running and ad on Facebook or Instagram can be much more affordable than you think! You set the budget, so it will always fit into your budget. You can start testing ads and seeing what type of ad, and what type of audience gets you the best results. I would recommend running campaigns starting around $5.00 and see what happens. Try different imagery and different tactics. Pay attention to which ones perform best, and invest your money into it from there.
Since you've already identified your target market (right?), you should be able to figure out who the influencers are. Influencers online are people who are considered opinion leaders over social platforms like Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, etc. People listen to them and trust what they say. People are "influenced" by their opinions and their likes. Try reaching out to mid level influencers who have a substantial following, but who aren't so popular that your email will be lost. If you can find a mutually beneficial way to work with someone like this, your brand could get GREAT exposure!
Tip: Don't expect something for nothing. It is important to foster good relationships with influencers. You should both benefit from the relationship. This will depend on the influencer and how you decide to work with them.
Let's go back to the trail running apparel company example. Just because you have a business based online, doesn't mean you are stuck there! Take your brand to directly to your potential customers. Where can you find trail runners? You will likely find them out on the trail, at races, at running events, at seminars, etc. Increasing exposure in the communities you want to sell to is extremely valuable.
Here are some ideas for marketing in the real world with this example in mind:
Having a supportive community around your brand can be amazing for both business and your personal life.
Tip: Don't be pushy! People generally don't want to be "sold to", especially if they are engaging in a recreational activity. Let your brand speak for itself and get your brand out there by BEING there - not just you, but your brand and your products. Again, when community is involved, it's best to let things come up organically.
Creating a referral program for you customers can help with brand exposure and increase sales at the same time. You are essentially asking a current customer to help promote your business among their friends, family, and followers. You could offer a reward to both parties involved to sweeten the deal! For example, every time a customer refers a friend, and that friend makes a purchase (you can create a minimum sale amount if desired) both the new and old customer get $5 to spend at your store. This is just an example, but the idea is you are rewarding both your loyal customer for helping to introduce new people to your brand, and the new customer for shopping at your store. It's a win-win-win. Just make sure the reward amount makes sense for your products and your pricing.
Email marketing is cost effective and can be a powerful tool for boosting sales. Add a newsletter sign-up to your shop and start building your list! You can encourage people to sign up by offering some kind of incentive, like $5 off their next order. You can use newsletters to promote sales, keep people updated about new designs, share important announcements, and more! If you don't know which email marketing service is right for you, check out our list of the Top 5 Email Marketing Services For Entrepreneurs for a good place to start!