In 2023, 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. While it’s now simpler than ever to share your information, the increasing competition among fashion brands makes it challenging for your brand to engage with your desired audience.
How can you market a clothing brand online in 2023? 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.
Every photo on your website and social media pages should help customers imagine themselves wearing your custom clothing. And in 2023, 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 excellent product shots. This will 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 showcase their products in action, but Miista stands out with its product images. Notice how they welcome you into their production space for a close-up look at the process and how their clothes seamlessly fit as daily streetwear.
Showcase the lifestyle that your customers seek. If you’re a nightlife brand, shoot candid photos at a fancy bar. If your vibe is earthy, shoot in the woods or beside a lake house. Maybe you’re a high-fashion brand and 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 improve it.
Make sure your models reflect a broad spectrum of the population. Hiring different models will help your customers envision 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 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 get outstanding photography for your online clothing brand, Printful offers ecommerce photography services. Our professional photographers make sure your pictures fit whatever fashion marketing strategy you’re going for.
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 using your products, and video is a quick, engaging, and fun way to make that happen. You should include videos across all your channels—from Instagram to TikTok and Pinterest.
How do you make compelling videos online? It largely depends on your platform, but online videos should generally be attention-grabbing yet short and to the point. For example, here’s how to create fun video pins on Pinterest. Or, look at this Printful Academy lesson on How to Use Instagram Reels For Business and Marketing to get useful tips on making short video content.
Check out @thenorthface to get a better idea of how to fully integrate videos in your Instagram feed. They’ve created engaging reels, videos in their feed, and stories tailored to anyone visiting their space. Keep reading for more info on using IG Reels, TikTok trends, and Pinterest features to market your clothing brand online.
Nowadays, you can’t discuss videos on the internet without discussing TikTok. If you’re making video content, create a TikTok account for your clothing brand—it’s the best way to get exposure and generate 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 superpower of TikTok is its social features: For You Page, trending videos, and video responses.
The For You Page, or FYP in TikTok lingo, is particularly tuned to who uses 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 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 use popular songs and audio tracks and adapt them to your brand. For example, see how Hope Macaulay adapted trending audio to tell her brand story.
Part of what sets TikTok apart 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 community member. 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 venture.
Instagram, a fan favorite, has always been there for you as you spread the word about your brand. But Instagram constantly changes, so keep 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 many editing features, like the option 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 attention quickly.
Why are Reels excellent 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 featuring videos 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 in 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 with your clothing can be tagged and linked 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 with their Instagram. Notice how easy it is to navigate their store and find the products tagged in their feed.
With all these new features, don’t forget the tried-and-true hashtag. Take some time to search hashtags you plan to post and see what other tags people use. 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 guide to using Instagram hashtags.
While Instagram’s new features are ideal for cool video content and offering followers a place to buy your products right in the feed, there’s no one better at inspiration than Pinterest.
While your audience can get ideas from your other social media accounts as well, Pinterest is the place where people go for inspiration. Pinterest users are there to explore ideas and products, making purchases once they feel that spark. According to the site, Pinterest customers 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 streamline the shopping process. 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 Pinterest users are actively on the hunt, you should use Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, to help your audience find your clothing brand. Including commonly searched terms and related keywords in your profile and posts will improve your visibility in searches. Hashtags can also bring traffic to your posts, but tread lightly—too many can overwhelm users and discourage potential customers.
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.
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 by creating boards with various looks to provide many options.
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).
To dive deeper into Pinterest marketing strategies, explore our Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide. It will provide detailed tips on how to get the most out of a well-managed Pinterest page.
It’s important to stay engaged with your audience when marketing online. Your standard social media feeds are great, but you can get even closer to 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 solid place to start. These are opt-in, semi-exclusive spaces for you and your biggest fans to share like-minded content. You can engage with your followers even more through private Facebook groups. In your private Facebook group, you can post exclusive lookbooks 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 build a stronger bond with your audience is to take the discussion of your brand to Reddit. Reddit is a vast hub 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 ideal 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. It’s about interacting with the communities forming around your brand and nurturing their authentic growth. Genuinely connecting with your audience will help promote respect, trust, and customer loyalty in the long run.
User-generated content is any form of content (reviews, videos, etc.) that’s created by regular people, not brands. Encouraging followers to organically showcase your products through user-generated content is not only effective for interacting with your community but also for selling 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. Remember to always get permission from your followers to share content.
Interested in how it’s done? Just 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 insights on how user-generated content works, check out this Ask Printful episode:
One surefire way to get eyes on your brand is to run a giveaway campaign. But remember, you’re not just giving away free samples like a 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 beneficial, but if you really want to boost engagement, offer incentives.
A good place to start is to encourage likes or follows. For example, the first x number of people to like your post will enter into a drawing for free t-shirts. Or, maybe all new followers during a specific time frame can win a hoodie or polo.
A giveaway campaign can also encourage your followers to interact with your posts. Offering giveaways for user-generated content, shares, and hashtag use can actively engage your audience. At the same time, it generates buzz for your brand and offers 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.
When one of your followers wins a giveaway, make a big deal about it! Congratulate them publicly, through a post or on your stories.
@Riot society does 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. Of course, get your winner’s permission before posting about them online.
Who doesn’t love a good sale? Another powerful way to market your clothing brand online is by tapping into yearly events to generate interest in your apparel. The excitement of the changing seasons easily translates into an appetite for shopping and an opportunity to build brand loyalty.
What should you include in your seasonal marketing strategy? Start with major discount events. Be proactive during annual shopping peaks like the back-to-school season or the Black Friday Cyber Monday rush. Or, create your own.
In March, you can offer a “spring cleaning” sale. Launching a bold promotion, such as limited-time discounts on your most popular items, can significantly boost demand. Your customers will be eager to snatch up your offering before the savings disappear. Why is this great? More of your followers will have your most sought-after items to review, discuss, and post on social media. Don’t forget to repost!
Interested in how to foster this relationship? Check out our blog on 5 Steps for Running the Perfect Microinfluencer Campaign.
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 at 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 something in the news is connected to your niche or rings true to your brand values, it’s a good idea to try and incorporate it into your apparel offering. That’s precisely 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 particularly hot trend across social media. If you want 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 fulfillment to respond to emerging trends more easily.
After reading about all these strategies to boost followers organically, you might be thinking, “Why would I pay to advertise my brand when I have all these powerful social media and SEO tools at my disposal?”
Paid online advertising is superpowered, that’s why. Organic growth is beneficial and indispensable, but it’s slow, involved, and hard work. Alternatively, paid ads work immediately—and they work well.
Let’s take a look at Google ads, for example. Google Ads allow you to bid on keywords that’ll trigger your ad. When someone searches for your specific keyword, your ad will appear at the top of their search results.
Most Google users click within the first few results—exactly where the ad is. This makes it easier for interested shoppers 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 unsurprising, considering 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 ensure only the right people see certain ads. Those with interests related to your brand or who’ve interacted with your brand in the past are a good place to start. With ads, you can hone in on your target audience easily and efficiently.
Here’s a helpful guide to get started with Facebook ads in our Facebook Marketing for Beginners post.
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. You’ll be able to see how people interpret your online messaging—what works and what doesn’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 vital. For example, your impressions can be high, but your engagement might be low. That could imply that people see your posts but aren’t interested in interacting with them. That means you should look into ways to make your posts more actionable.
Analytics are also a powerful way to get to know your audience. For example, with Facebook’s audience insights, you can find in-depth details about your page visitors, like age or location. Or what other types of pages is your audience visiting? With this information, you can start orienting your messaging to the people you want to target or reorienting your messaging to better attract a slightly different demographic.
On Instagram, you have a similar toolkit. See your top-performing posts to try and identify what’s been successful. Maybe all of your most popular posts feature the same hashtag or showcase pants. Alternatively, perhaps they’re all from your most recent giveaway campaign. Figure out what works and keep doing it.
TikTok has ways of measuring top-performing posts as well. The platform takes a considerable amount of data from those tiny videos. For example, each video tracks average watch time, telling you how long people spend on your video or if they watched it multiple times. It’ll also tell you the second people skipped to the next video so you can see what part of the video caused the skip. For example, maybe your video took too long to grab attention at the 4-second mark.
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, you know you’re getting the algorithm’s attention.
These are all effective ways to find out how well your marketing tactics are doing and what you can do better to promote your clothing brand online.
If you’re using Etsy, let your customers tailor the custom clothing or wall art you’re selling with Printful’s Personalization Tool. This tool lets your shoppers edit elements in your design to fit their tastes, preferences, or occasions.
Check out this Etsy listing where people can personalize the text embroidered on their t-shirts.
Source: Loversh Etsy listing
For Etsy sellers, the Product Personalization Tool is available for all Etsy stores linked to Printful. Now, let’s go over how to enable this feature on Etsy.
From your Etsy dashboard, go to Shop Manager, click Listings, and choose the listing where you wish to add the personalization option. Click on the listing, scroll down to Product personalization, toggle the switch On, and fill out the character limit and instructions for the buyer.
When your customers place an order, it’ll appear on your Printful dashboard in the Orders section with a blue icon. To finalize the order, you must open the order, hover over the icon to see the message your customer has left and edit your design. Then, follow the manual steps to place the order.
For more details, you can watch our Etsy tutorial:
For brands seeking to boost customer retention and engagement, loyalty programs have proven to be an invaluable tool. Such programs incentivize repeat purchases and pave the way for collecting valuable data on shopping habits. This data collection can help refine marketing strategies and tailor product offerings.
For the shoppers, the rewards are direct: tangible savings, early access to sales, and personalized shopping experiences based on their purchasing history.
Starbucks’ reward page is one of the best examples of presenting all the necessary information to your customers: it’s detailed and transparent but not overwhelming.
A few tips for creating a successful loyalty program:
Make the reward system easy to understand, whether it’s based on points-per-purchase or a tiered benefits structure.
Make it simple for your customers to join. Give them options to enroll through social media, website, or email.
Actively engage your loyalty members across different channels, be it email, SMS, or push notifications, ensuring they’re always in the loop about benefits and exclusive offers.
Set up clear terms and conditions. Coupled with periodic evaluations and adjustments (based on feedback and participation rates), you’ll create a thriving loyalty program in no time.
Some brands also celebrate special occasions like birthdays or membership anniversaries to further solidify the bond between them and their shoppers, ensuring long-lasting loyalty.
Read our blog on 5 ways to build customer loyalty to find out how you can strengthen the relationships with your audience.
Live streaming has become one of the most popular types of video content consumed online in recent years. Last year, for example, live streaming reached nearly 28% of internet users worldwide.
According to a recent study, you’re most likely to see good results from live streaming if you’re selling clothing, as that’s the most purchased live stream category in Europe and the US.
Recognizing the huge potential of live streaming, Nordstrom, an American luxury department store chain, created a dedicated live shopping channel.
Live streaming allows you to deepen your connection with your audience by having a direct dialog with them, answering questions in real-time, and showing off your products creatively.
The barrier to entry is low because the technical requirements are minimal: you need a smartphone with a good camera and a stable internet connection.
To execute a successful live stream, plan in advance and choose a relevant topic or theme. If you want to ensure your audience finds the topic engaging, you can ask them to choose a topic for you. Propose three possible topics and initiate a poll on your social media to see which one generates the most interest.
Make the most out of live streaming by:
Giving exclusive deals or promotions during or right after the stream to incentivize immediate action. These offers can drive sales and give viewers a reason to attend future streams.
Be consistent. Having a schedule can build anticipation and a dedicated viewership, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
Collaborate with influencers or other brands during live streams to tap into a new audience and offer fresh content.
Pro tip: Share the video recording on YouTube or your page, like Nordstrom in the example above. This way, those who missed the live event can still engage with your content.
Modern times are a marketer’s dream come true. Connecting with customers and getting your apparel out there is easier than ever.
Although using new technologies can be intimidating, it’s well worth it when it comes to marketing online. Focus on social media engagement, try new features, and analyze your results—you’ll find that marketing a clothing brand is a lot simpler than it seems.
Try these tips and let us know how it goes in the comments!
Graphic Design Specialist
Zach is a graphic design specialist who enjoys blogging on the side. He mostly writes about professional development, digital marketing, and following your passions. In his free time, he runs and takes long bike rides.