How to Market a Clothing Brand Online: 14 Easy Ways
Imagine the clothes that you’re wearing right now. Why did you buy them? Is the pattern something you’ve always liked? Do they fit together as an outfit? It’s probably some combination of all of the above. But when you stop to think about how you know the outfit works, there’s no question: you saw it on your Instagram feed!
In 2022, Instagram is the new storefront window display. TikTok is the new runway. Pinterest is the new Vogue. Shoppable posts are the new retail store. Life moved online during the pandemic, and when it comes to fashion marketing, your clothing brand should follow suit.
Yet marketing a clothing brand online is an ever-evolving challenge. On the one hand, it’s easier than ever to get your information out there. But on the other hand, as many fashion brands vie for attention, the opportunity for your brand to connect with your target audience gets more complicated.
How can you market a clothing brand online in 2022? You need a solid marketing strategy, authenticity, and a bit of clever know-how. Let’s take a look at how to stand out this year.
1. Use visuals that help customers see themselves in the product
Every photo on your website and social media pages should help customers imagine themselves actually wearing your brand. And in 2022, the more images the better.
There’s no reason not to fill your site and socials with angles upon angles! Get a tripod, a nice background, and a good lighting setup for some great product shots. This’ll give your customers a 360-degree view to better imagine themselves at every angle. Check out how many images of the classic Chuck Taylor Converse shoes are featured on their website:
But why not step out of the studio and into your workspace, a fun event, or the city? Many brands are showcasing their products in action, but Miista does it right with their product images. Notice how they invite you inside their production area for an intimate peek into the process, or how their clothes would be perfect as everyday streetwear.
Showcase the lifestyle that your customers come to you for. If you’re a nightlife brand, shoot candid photos at a fancy bar. If your vibe is earthy, shoot in the woods or near a lake house. Maybe you’re a high-fashion brand and you want to highlight your items in a fashion show. Ultimately, the idea is to show your customers how your clothes fit into their lifestyle—and make it better.
It’s also important to make sure your models represent a diverse sample of the population. Hiring different models will help your customers see themselves in your products, no matter who they are. Lazy Oaf’s Dolphin Paradise T-Shirt is a good example—they’ve gone with multiple models of diverse backgrounds to showcase their clothes. Think about size inclusivity as well. Representing different people and body types is a genuine way to connect with your audience.
For more in-depth tips on how to make your photos really pop, check out our blog on Striking Product Photography Trends.
Don’t have time to coordinate the perfect photoshoot? For an affordable, hands-off solution to getting the perfect photography for your online clothing brand in 2022, Printful offers ecommerce photography services. Our professional photographers make sure that your pictures fit whatever fashion marketing strategy you’re going for
2. Craft videos that make your brand stand out
While high-quality images are a must for marketing your clothing brand online, you’ve probably noticed that video is the king of content these days.
Just like with your photos, customers need to imagine themselves in your products, and video is a quick, engaging, and fun way to make that happen. You should include video across all your channels—from Instagram, to TikTok and Pinterest.
How do you make great videos online? It largely depends on what platform you’re using, but generally, online video should be attention-grabbing, yet short and to the point. For example, here’s how you can create fun video pins on Pinterest. Or, take a look at this Printful Academy lesson on How to Use Instagram Reels For Business and Marketing to get some useful tips on making short video content.
Check out @thenorthface to get a better idea of how to fully integrate videos into your Instagram feed. They’ve created engaging reels, videos right in their feed, and stories tailored to anyone who might be visiting their space. Keep reading for more info on how to use IG Reels, TikTok trends, and Pinterest features to market your clothing brand online.
3. Follow TikTok trends and publish trending videos
Nowadays, you can’t discuss videos on the internet without discussing TikTok. If you’re making video content, make sure to create a TikTok account for your clothing brand—it’s the best way to get exposure and create buzz around your apparel.
TikTok is a massively popular platform, particularly with Gen Zers. You can use it to share short or medium-length videos, but the real super power of TikTok is its social features: the For You Page, trending videos, and video responses.
The For You Page, or FYP in TikTok lingo, is particularly tuned in to who’s using it. By posting frequently, engaging with your audience, and following trends, you can start showing up in the FYP of your target audience, which can drive them to make purchases (sometimes even directly in the app). Check out our blog on How to Make Money on TikTok for more.
Hopping on trends for higher visibility is also a must. Explore hashtags related to your brand to see what others are getting excited about, and adapt the trending topics to your specific brand. Since TikTok video trends are heavily built on the underlying audio, explore how people are using popular songs and audio and adapt them to your brand. For example, check out how Hope Macaulay adapted trending audio to tell her brand story.
Part of what makes TikTok great is duets and video responses. These features allow remixing of and direct engagement with posts. Get the most out of these features by reacting to reviews, responding in the comments with video responses, and being an active member of your own community. It’ll boost your brand’s visibility and authenticity.
Make sure you fully understand a trend before you post, though. Remember, the name of the game is authenticity, and you can risk alienating your audience by posting a video that seems disingenuous. Your audience doesn’t want to feel marketed to.
But don’t wait too long to jump on a trend. You’ve probably noticed how quickly something you saw on your FYP can sound like yesterday’s news.
Being new on a social network can be daunting, so check out our video on TikTok marketing for beginners to learn how to get started with this lucrative new venture.
4. Don’t sleep on Instagram’s newest features
Instagram, a fan favorite, has always been there for you as you spread the word about your brand. But Instagram is always changing, so make sure you’re keeping up with the latest features to get the most out of your IG page.
Instagram is taking note of TikTok’s success, and has added Reels to capitalize on how popular short videos with tagged audio have become. These highly engaging videos have come to Instagram with a host of editing features like the ability to trim the video, add stickers, and add audio in the app. The advantage of Reels is much the same as TikTok: the videos are short (only up to 60 seconds) and can capture trending attention quickly.
Why are Reels great for marketing your clothing brand? They’re the perfect way to expand your reach. 50% of Instagram users find Reels through the explore page, so by having videos featured there, you can reach a much wider audience.
Also, Instagram is leaning into its new Shoppable features. Your tried-and-true photo app for sharing looks and inspiring your audience has become the store itself. Your audience no longer has to click the “link in bio” to find the clothes you feature in your feed. Shopping is now integrated throughout the app. Set up your store, and your followers can click “View shop” to scroll through your offerings, and buy them through Instagram’s in-app browser.
You can even tag those products in your feed. For example, a casual lifestyle pic can be tagged with the garment in the pic, which’ll link to the product in your shop.
Instagram is also going further with its “Checkout” feature. Checkout allows users to skip the browser step, and buy directly in the app. It’s only available in the US right now, though.
Take a look at Kai Collective’s shopping features integrated in their Instagram. Notice how easy it is to find and navigate their store, and to find the products tagged in their feed.
With all these new features to take advantage of, don’t forget the tried-and-true hashtag. Take some time to search hashtags that you’re planning to post and see what other tags people are using. Posting with lots of hashtags can help users find your posts, and make the algorithm more likely to show them. For more tips on how to use hashtags, take a look at our 2022 guide to using Instagram hashtags.
5. Take advantage of Pinterest’s perks
While Instagram’s new features are great for cool video content and offering followers a place to purchase your products right in the feed, there’s really no one better at “inspiration” than Pinterest.
While your audience can get ideas from your other social media accounts, Pinterest is the place where people go for inspiration. Users on Pinterest are there to research ideas and products, and will buy once they feel that spark. According to the site, customers on the platform spend twice as much there than on other social media sites.
Part of this willingness to spend comes from Pinterest adopting Shoppable posts. Just like with Instagram, Pinterest allows you to tag products and make the shopping process streamlined. Also like Instagram, Pinterest is rolling out in-platform shopping features (it’s currently available in the US on Pinterest mobile apps). Imagine: you find that match made in heaven, and it can be yours in seconds, or you can save it to your Pinterest boards for future inspiration. No wonder people buy so much on Pinterest!
Because users on Pinterest are actively on the hunt, you should take advantage of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, to help your audience find your clothing brand. Including popular search terms and adjacent search terms in your profile and in posts is a great way to be included in searches. Hashtags can also bring traffic to your posts, but tread lightly—too many can overwhelm users and turn your customers off.
And as we discussed before, make sure your photos pop! Pinterest is all about the visuals. Here are a few Pinterest-specific tips:
- Many people visit the site on their phones, so using photos in portrait mode is a good practice to adopt.
- Pinterest is more like a look-book than other social media platforms, so your images should be magazine quality. Showing entire outfits is really popular, but don’t be afraid to zoom in on a particular item.
- Don’t forget—Pinterest is where people come to get inspired. Help them out by creating boards with a variety of looks to give them lots of options.
Take a look at how Zara uses boards to highlight multiple pieces at once, and capitalizes on phrases their audience uses like “OOTD” (outfit of the day).
If you want to learn more about how to market on Pinterest, check out our Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide. We go into more detail about how to get the most out of a well-managed Pinterest page.
6. Be active in groups and communities
It’s super important to stay engaged with your audience when marketing online. Your standard social media feeds are great, but you can get even closer with your customers by creating exclusive fan groups. You don’t even have to be in marketing mode all the time—these are places where you and your audience can interact and share valuable tips.
Creating a Facebook group is a great place to start. These are opt-in, semi-exclusive spaces for you and your biggest fans to share like-minded content. You can engage even more with your followers through private Facebook groups. In your private Facebook group, you’ll be able to post exclusive look books and guides on upcoming fashion trends. It’s like your own personal stylist community.
Incentivize your most passionate fans to create user-generated content by offering invites to this exclusive Facebook page as a reward for writing reviews or tagging you in their posts.
Another way to connect more closely with your audience is to take the discussion of your brand to Reddit. Reddit is a super collection of custom fan pages, news feeds, and forums. If you have something to talk about, you’ll find it on Reddit. This makes it the perfect place for your fans to interact with each other and with you.
You can create a subreddit (your own dedicated community) for your brand, where you can post useful and engaging content. Upvote, post, and comment in adjacent subreddits, and always try to display your genuine interest in the topics and communities you’re posting in.
Remember, engagement isn’t just about getting your name out there. You want to create a back and forth with the communities that are springing up around your brand and foster their genuine growth. Connecting authentically with your audience will help promote respect, trust, and customer loyalty in the long run.
7. Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content is any form of content (reviews, videos, etc.) that is created by regular people and not brands. Encouraging followers to show off your products in an organic way through user-generated content can be effective to both interact with your community but also to sell apparel.
Why is it useful? A single bit of user-generated content is the ultimate review. Your most dedicated fans can give a major boost to your brand’s authenticity by telling the rest of your audience what you already know: you’re the real deal.
It could be as simple as reposting reviews and testimonials, making public calls to use your own branded hashtag, or creating a fun TikTok challenge. But as we mentioned before, always make sure to get permission from your followers to share content.
Interested in how it’s done? Just take a look at all the posts that Converse features on their product page. All this buzz around their clothes works to inspire trust in their product and help other customers in their purchasing decisions.
For more tips on how it works and encouraging user-generated content, check out this Ask Printful episode:
8. Run giveaway campaigns
One sure-fire way to get eyes on your brand is to run a giveaway campaign. But remember, you’re not just giving away free samples like the gelato shop. Treat giveaways as a way for your followers to try out and show off your clothing. Having select members of your community testing out your apparel can be great, but if you really want to boost engagement, offer incentives.
A good place to start is to encourage likes or follows. The first x number of people to like your post will be entered into a drawing for free t-shirts, for example. Or, maybe all new followers during a specific time frame will have the chance to win a hoodie or polo.
A giveaway campaign can also encourage your followers to engage with your posts. Offering giveaways for user-generated content, shares, and hashtag use can make your audience feel like they’re part of something special. At the same time, it’s generating buzz for your brand and offering the participants something real in return. The more people share your posts and use your hashtags, the more feeds you’ll appear on, which will direct more potential customers to your brand.
Also, when one of your followers wins a giveaway, be sure to make a big deal about it! Congratulate them publicly, through a post or on your stories.
@Riot society is a great example of how to do this well: they pin their winners in their stories to make them feel like mini-celebrities to anyone who visits their page. This can turn a single follower into a brand ambassador and make anyone who shares your post connect with your community. As always, make sure to get your winner’s permission before posting about them online.
9. Offer seasonal discounts and promotions
Who doesn’t love a good sale? Another great way to market your clothing brand online is by tapping into yearly events to generate interest in your apparel. The excitement that comes with the changing seasons translates easily into an appetite for shopping and an opportunity to build brand loyalty.
What can you incorporate into your seasonal marketing strategy? First, major discount events. Stay on top of regular annual shopping times like the back-to-school season or Black Friday Cyber Monday. Or, create your own.
Maybe in March you can offer a “spring cleaning” sale. Something big and flashy like putting all of your most popular items on sale for a limited time will boost demand. Your customers will be eager to snach up your offering before the savings disappear. Why is this great? More of your followers will have your most popular items to review, discuss, and post about on their social media. Don’t forget to repost!
You can also try featuring products that reflect the themes or even color palette of whatever season you’re in. Try a catchy tagline like Ugly Christmas sweater, anyone? Your customers will be excited for seasonal classics and the new designs you create throughout the year.
Printful has published an ecommerce holiday marketing calendar to help you fill up your posting schedule and make sure you don’t miss a chance to take advantage of the seasonal excitement, so check it out.
10. Boost sales with email marketing
Although there are many new and exciting ways to market your brand online, email is still something that most people check every day. It definitely remains a great way to get the word out about your clothing brand.
One major benefit is that email sign-ups are often much more opt-in than social media posts that appear on your feed. The people you’ll be sending emails to will be users who’ve already interacted with your brand. Meaning, they’ll be much more likely to already have some amount of brand loyalty.
Another thing to explore with email marketing is to A/B test your content. With A/B testing, you send two different versions of your emails, each to a different portion of your subscribers list. Then, you review the number of people who opened the email or clicked on a link, and you’ll be able to find out which version of your message was more effective. That way, you can refine your message to maximize your marketing efforts.
For how to write great emails, take a look at our post on Email Copywriting Tips.
11. Join forces with micro-influencers
Partnering with an influencer who has a tightly-knit fan base already can be particularly helpful for growing your fashion brand. A micro-influencer’s small but passionate fan base usually has a higher level of trust compared to bigger influencers, which can quickly add a level of legitimacy to your messaging.
Your relationship with a micro-influencer will boost exposure and show your customers that there are real people who have good things to say about your brand. The key benefit of a good influencer: trust. When they tell their fans that they like a product, their fans will take their word for it.
What makes for a good influencer to partner with? Think about your goals and target audience. You want to reach out to influencers whose followers closely align with your brand’s target audience, and whose reach will help you achieve your goals. Consider connecting with fashion bloggers who share your brand’s aesthetic and values.
If you’re wondering how to go about connecting with a micro-influencer, it’s not as hard as it seems. Have you ever written a job application or a cover letter? It’s a similar approach, but usually via DM on social media.
Make sure to keep it short and to the point: introduce yourself, indicate that you know what they do, and highlight why you appreciate their work. Then discuss what you can do for them, both literally (with pay or free merch) and reputationally (through followers or growth).
If you’ve done your research and found the right match, it’ll be the beginning of a fruitful influencer-marketing relationship that’ll add new, passionate fans to your brand.
Interested in how to foster this relationship? Check out our blog on 5 Steps for Running the Perfect Microinfluencer Campaign.
12. Keep your finger on the pulse of pop culture
In the era of social media, trends come and go at the speed of light. To keep your brand fresh and current (and capitalize on consumer interests) it’s important to be able to respond quickly. That way, you can take advantage of what’s popular in the moment—and what your customers want to buy.
Current events also represent a good opportunity for brands to reinforce their identity and stay relevant. For example, if there’s something in the news that’s connected to your niche or rings true for your brand values, it’s a good idea to try and incorporate it into your apparel offering. That’s exactly what Badass x Bonita did with her I stand with Brown, Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, Indigenous, and Undocumented Humans tee.
So let’s say you notice a trend that’s particularly hot right now across social media. If you wanted to capitalize on a hugely popular meme, instead of ordering in bulk and stocking up on inventory, you should try partnering with a print-on-demand company.
When you use an on-demand production and fulfillment provider like Printful, all you have to do is create your design, add it to a product, and then add the product to your online store. Once an order is placed, your products will be shipped to your customers with your branding.
Since you don’t have to order anything upfront, you won’t be stuck with leftover stock when the trend has fizzled out. Plus, you’ll be ready to pounce on any new trends within minutes of it becoming the talk of TikTok, or the gab of the gram.
Learn more about How to Start an Online Store with Printful and take advantage of on-demand printing and fulfillment to more easily respond to emerging trends.
Start your clothing brand with Printful
13. Invest in paid advertising
After reading about all these strategies to organically boost followers, you might be thinking, “why would I pay to advertise my brand when I have all these great social media and SEO tools at my disposal?”
Paid online advertising is superpowered, that’s why. Organic growth is great and essential, but it’s slow, involved, hard work. Alternatively, paid ads work immediately—and they work well.
Let’s take a look at Google ads, for example. Google Ads work by allowing you to bid on keywords that’ll trigger your ad. When someone searches for your specific keyword, your ad will show up at the very top of the search results.
Most Google users click within the first few results—exactly where the ad is. This makes it easier for interested consumers to learn about your clothing brand. And ads start working immediately, no waiting for your SEO tactics to gain the attention of algorithms.
So, is it effective? According to Google Economic Impact, Google Ads users can earn $8 for every $1 spent on advertising. That’s not surprising when you consider that an estimated 63K searches are made per second on Google.
Social media ads also let you hyper-target the audience you want to advertise to. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, track so much data that you can make sure that only the right people see certain ads. Those with interests related to your brand or who’ve interacted with your brand on some level in the past are a good place to start. With ads, you can hone in on your target audience more easily and efficiently.
Here’s a helpful guide to get started with Facebook ads in our Facebook Marketing for Beginners post.
14. Use analytics to your advantage
How can you market your clothing brand if you don’t know whether or not your strategy is generating interest and sales? Analytics will help you figure it out. Using analytics, you’ll be able to see how people are interpreting your online messaging—what’s working and what isn’t.
All major social media sites have built-in analytics. These go by slightly different names across social networks, but generally, all you need is a business account or page.
Knowing what different metrics mean for your brand is as important as having them. For example, your impressions can be huge, but your engagement might be low. That could imply that people are seeing your posts, but aren’t interested in interacting with them. Maybe look into ways to make your posts more actionable.
Analytics are also a great way to get to know your audience. For example, with Facebook’s audience insights, you can find out in-depth details about who’s visiting your page, like age or location. Or, what other types of pages your audience is visiting. With this information you can start to orient your messaging to the people you want to target, or re-orient your messaging to better attract a slightly different demographic.
On Instagram, you have a similar toolkit. Use features like being able to see your top-performing posts to try and identify what’s been successful. Maybe all of your most popular posts contain the same hashtag, or all are pictures of pants. Alternatively, maybe they’re all from your most recent giveaway campaign. Figure out what works and keep doing it.
TikTok also has ways of measuring top-performing posts. The platform takes a huge amount of data from those tiny videos. For example, each video tracks average watch time, which will tell you how long people spend on your video or if they watched it multiple times. It’ll also tell you the second that people skipped to the next video, so you can see what part of the video caused the skip. For example, maybe your video was taking too long to grab attention at 4 seconds in.
You can also track where your video’s traffic is coming from. If you see that the traffic is coming from the For You page, then you know you’re getting the attention of the algorithm.
These are all great ways to find out how well your marketing tactics are doing, and what you can do better to promote your clothing brand online.
Master the market
Modern times are a marketers dream come true. It’s easier than ever before to connect with customers and get your apparel out there.
Although using new technologies can be intimidating, it’s well worth it when it comes to marketing online. Focus on social media engagement, make use of new features, and analyze your results—you’ll find that marketing a clothing brand is a lot easier than it seems.
Try out these tips and let us know how it goes in the comments!