Fashion Marketing In 2017: +300 Fashion Marketers Reveal Their 12 Most Successful Digital Strategies

New 2017 Research

How’d you like to know the secrets of fashion marketers who are just hitting it out of the park with their content marketing?

Well, it’s your lucky day… as I am going to share with you exactly the BEST strategies that successful content marketers follow to reach that success. These strategies are based on research and data we collected in 2017 from over 300 fashion marketers.

You can read the full research report here: Content Marketing & Social Media in the Fashion Industry

Here are the 12 strategies that will get you the most traffic and results with content marketing:

1. Create social media posts, email newsletters, online lookbooks and catalogues, and just that

The fashion & apparel industry is like no other. It is very fast and the visual factor is crucial for any brand. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the toolset used for content marketing in fashion is significantly different from the content marketing toolset used by content marketers in B2C.

b2c content marketing tactics list

On CMI’s research we will find the content tools that everybody in B2C uses. As a fashion marketers, you should use different tactics and tools.

Tools like blogs, infographics, and even video are way less used in fashion marketing. And they are used even less successfully.

Below are the tools that fashion marketers use, and which they use with success. So, unless you have a unique competitive advantage that will help you do better than your peer marketers, our advice is to stick to the tactics that work well for other marketers in the fashion industry.

So which tactics to use?

  • Social media
  • Email newsletters
  • Online catalogues
  • Online lookbooks

Why? Look at the graph which shows you the success rate of specific content formats used in fashion marketing.

fashion marketing content formats

 

Surprisingly, 13% of fashion marketers does not use social media - while this is the #1 tool that brings success. And 55% does not create lookbooks, while this is one of the better scoring tools in terms of succes.

 

2. Make your content directly shoppable

Why do I say this?

When we looked closer at successfully deployed content tools, we saw that 70% of them were directly shoppable. Looking at all the content tactics that were unsuccessfully deployed, we saw that only 27% of them were directly shoppable.

shoppable content comparison

Marketers who participated in our research told us that branding was the #1 reason for them to engage in content marketing.

But still, would it hurt of you actually helped selling a lot of your collection? Would that be good? Right! So why not do it?

There is work to do in this area: we found that 30% of social media is not shoppable, 51% of email newsletters are not shoppable and 42% of lookbooks are not shoppable either…

Ouch. Is your content shoppable?

shop now button

So go and add that ‘SHOP NOW’ button!

 

3. Distribute your content through organic search, email newsletters and social media

We all know distribution of your content is key. You should spend at least the same amount of time and money on distribution of your content as you did on creation.

“Content is king and distribution is queen” - so distribution is actually even more important than your actual content creation. You might create the most brilliant and beautiful piece of content, but if nobody receives or sees it, your content will be as lonely as Rapunzel in her tower.

fashion marketing content distribution tactics

Our research revealed that the two top distribution strategies were paid social media and paid search. Combined with email newsletters and organic search, you will have the right elements for a successful distribution strategy.

Pro tip: the two top distribution tactics are both in SEARCH. To make sure your website and online presence is optimized, have an SEO audit performed by a respected, white-hat SEO specialist.

 

4. On social media, create a presence and community on Instagram and Facebook, and possible Pinterest and Youtube

 

ashion social media instagram logo
fashion social media facebook logo
fashion social media pinterest
fashion social media youtube

Creating an engaged group of followers is hard on any social media platform. So it is utterly important to spend your efforts where they will bring you the best bang for the buck.

Facebook and Instagram were pictured in our research as absolute must-haves:

78% of interviewed marketers considers Facebook critical and 86% considers Instagram critical to their business.

Youtube and Pinterest were the runners-up with 47% for Youtube (while only 27% is using this platform) and 40% for Pinterest.

Conclusion? Here is your list of platforms you might want to invest in:

  1. Instagram
  2. Facebook
  3. Youtube
  4. Pinterest

So once more a big difference with the B2B world, where platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter have a much higher importance.

 

5. Use paid social media on Instagram and Facebook

Executed well, paid social media can be a game-changer in our experience. Typically you will get some serious targeting possibilities allowing you to zoom in on your target audience, and ads on social media are for some reason better tolerated than banners on website.

What it comes down to is usually very nice click-through rates and more than decent conversion ratios.

However, 39% of marketers does not leverage paid social media as a tactic.

And this despite the fact that we found paid social media to be the most effective distribution strategy with a success ratio of 79%!

 

6. Use paid search for targeted keywords, which you should research

Search is an integral part of our online shopping habits, and it represents a solid opportunity for fashion marketers.

 

Fashion marketers indicate that paid search is one of the two most successful ways distribute content. It is successful in 79% of the cases. After all, the top results on Google are paid ads.

SERP results

How to do paid search?

Create an expanded array of keywords - and direct them to landing pages / experiences that match the intent of the keyword.

Are your future customers just looking for ideas, or are they urgently looking for that missing piece of their wardrobe?

Get your ads right: Make sure your bid is high enough to rank in the top results - and try to optimize when and where your ad is showing.

adwords extensions

And lastly, take advantage of any available ad extensions. The ones that you should definitely leverage are

  • Sitelinks
  • Location
  • Call
  • Reviews
  • Callouts

 

7. Focus on creating higher quality content, not necessarily more

The number one reason quoted by fashion marketers for increased success is not surprisingly producing a higher quality of content (75%).

But what is quality content?

Well, let’s see what the masters of content, Google themselves, say about ‘quality content’:

  • Useful and informative
  • More valuable and useful than content on other sites
  • Credible
  • Unique, specific and not mass-produced
  • Engaging

If you Google ‘how to create engaging content’ you will get over 8.5 MILLION results. Don’t panic, there is no need to go and read all of them.

Here is a mini-guide on how to create engaging content:

  1. Creating engaging content starts with a deep understanding of your customer and consequently of what they want to hear.
  2. Write with a voice, without typographicol arrors (just kidding here), and avoid spammy text at all costs.
  3. And top that off with a magazine-worthy title that uses action words.

Thank you!

 

 

8. Perform more research on which content you should create for your audiences

So how to get that deep understanding of what your customers want to hear? Research, research, research.

The better your research, the more effective your content marketing strategy. Just imagine, you will be spending a good chunk of time and possibly money on creating and distributing your content. If you create the ‘wrong’ content, then all that time and money will not yield you a good ROI.

On average, successful organizations use on average 2.4 tactics, while unsuccessful ones utilize on average 1.9. I found no discernible difference which tactics were better to determine the right content. Just the fact of doing more research in itself proved to help.

You should use at a minimum two different ways to research what content to create.

Which tactics should you use to research your content?

Well, first of all, the ideas of yourself and your team of course! But here is how other fashion marketers complement and validate their topics: customer feedback, competitive analysis, keyword research and employee feedback.

fashion marketing research tactics

 

9. Create a documented strategy on all of the above

55% of content marketers in fashion do NOT create a strategy.

But you really should. When I compared the research results and difference between success and failure with content marketing and social media, I saw a strong contrast:

fashion marketing strategy

73% of successful marketers have a documented strategy and KPIs, while only 4% of unsuccessful marketers say they have a strategy in place.

Not sure how to create that strategy?

No problem, our friend Jeffrey Kranz has got you covered - you can read his guide on creating a content marketing plan here.

 

10. Once created, get your organization’s commitment for that strategy

Excellent. You have your content marketing plan, or you are working on creating it. Now you need to get the rest of your organization truly committed to your plan.

Here is what the research revealed:

98% of successful marketers says there is a strong sense of commitment for content marketing, compared to only 50% of unsuccessful content marketers.

How to obtain commitment?

Here is some rock-solid advice, and a 7-step process from the Harvard Business Review to help you create change in your organization:

  1. Tailor your pitch
  2. Frame the issue
  3. Manage emotions on both sides
  4. Get the timing right
  5. Involve others
  6. Adhere to norms
  7. Suggest solutions

 

11. Allocate over 10% of your budget on content marketing

With the rise of content marketing and social media, the question isn’t if you should invest in content.

The question is how much.

Previous research on content marketing budgets revealed already some statistics. In its 2016 report, CMI said that the average budget in B2C for content marketing was 26%.

However, 41% our respondents (all fashion marketers) indicated that they do not spend even 10% of their budget on content and social media.

Should they spend more on content?

Successful content marketers tend to spend significantly more than 10%, especially if we compare it to people who said they were unsuccessful. The large majority of successful content marketers spends over 10% on content marketing, and most spend between 25 to 50% on content marketing.

In contrast, when we look at the budget allocation from unsuccessful content marketers, we see that most spend less than 10%, and few spend over 25% of their total budget.

Just for background, here is what companies in general (not only in fashion) plan to do with their marketing dollars in 2017.

Social media marketing and content marketing, right!

digital marketing budgets

 

12. Measure the ROI of your efforts

A whopping 61% of fashion marketers does not measure ROI or does not know if it being measured.

fashion marketing roi content

Yet, 49% of successful marketers indicates that they measure ROI, while only 8% of unsuccessful ones do so. Successful marketers measure!

 

I really hope you enjoyed the research!.

If there is anything else you’d like to see researched, or if you have other questions, please do reach out, I love the interaction.

Many thanks,

Bart