Putting together a robust and targeted marketing strategy to spread the word is critical to getting enough traction so that your brand and business survive. Simply developing an excellent product, uploading this to a website and flicking the “Publish” button just won’t cut it and it will take an age for anyone to find your brand.
Below are the key areas you will need to consider when you launch your activewear brand to spread the word, raise some brand-awareness and start to get some instant sales.
It might be worth considering creating a brand guide that you can share with anyone that helps promote the business, but it’s also a good reference to look at regularly to make sure what you are doing is still in tune with your original vision and to ensure your words are still following the brand message.
You know your brand, the target customer, the tone of voice, messaging, visual identity and aesthetic, however as you grow, you will need to share this overall vision to make sure you remain consistent to continue connecting with your target demographics.
This document should include an overview of why you launched, what problem the brand solves, the gap in the market, where does your brand sit with regard to your closest competitors, branding guidelines and potentially a strapline could be created from this document that represents the core values your brand represents.
Remember to look at this document every six months and make sure you are still holding your brand values. As it’s very easy to jump at immediate opportunities that arise but are “Off Brand” and before long your customers will question what your brand is about and you will start to stand out for all the wrong reasons. We understand that you want to get brand recognition with your target demographics in your online advertisements for all the right reasons, so it's essential to ensure your online marketing channels connect with your audience.
Having a detailed and concise website is critical with great images and a considered overview of your brand value, why you exist and of course stand out product descriptions. Think about the keywords your target audience will use to find you and make sure you include these across the website, so you rank better in search tools.
Think about recruiting an SEO expert to make sure your website ranks well, and your search engine descriptions and meta tags are all correct. You might also look at link building that helps you rank better too, your SEO expert will be able to build these links.
Make sure you develop the site, SEO and links permanently. Don’t look for quick fixes or buy off the shelf link fixes as Google is always changing the way it operates and ranks pages. Many freelancers will say that they can help you with your websites SEO, but what they won't tell you is that it is a long term project and not a quick fix.
One way to rank higher is to regularly produce on market content, think about writing regular blogs that engage your target audience. These help you keep the website fresh and offer your customers something to digest but also help your site rank better, providing the content is optimised. Remember the keywords when you write your blog and spend the time writing well written time relevant content that your target audience will want to engage with. Think about what your customers may be interested in reading, be it product, the sport, nutrition, events or general news.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are all critical links to the website but also allow you to capture an audience interested in what you have to say. Make sure all your posts are “On Brand” and add value. If you don’t have anything worthy to post, then don’t post. Consumers are only interested to see relevant feeds that trigger their curiosity. Quality is key here rather than quantity and try to post with a view to engaging with your followers.
Remember to hashtag relevant tags and don’t use social media as just a sales tool, jumping on opportunities to shout about your brand or product when it doesn’t relate to what you are about. I see so many brands jumping on trends, for instance, thanking war hero’s or the NHS to try and win favour and likes. Instead, work out what you could do as a brand to help these causes. Donate to a charity or create an event or product that helps this cause will gain far more traction than just saying “Well Done”.
An example of this is the influx of brands thanking the NHS during Covid-19 in the hope to get cheap likes. The alternative is to create PPE or an event to raise funds for the NHS, creating real support and therefore more love for your brand.
Keep posts organic and never buy your audience. So many brands think audience size is everything and invest in fake, instant followers. These tactics will probably get you removed from the platform and add no value to your business. You need genuine followers who engage with the content you place.
AMBASSADORS & INFLUENCERS
Having influential people wear your brand just works and creates easily shareable/re-shareable social media content. In general, people look up to their stars and want to emulate them in some way, shape or form. The easiest way is to style themselves in similar or identical clothes. This may purely be a fashion/style thing, however, if the influencer is an active sportsperson within your field, then customers will automatically associate your brand with their success.
Not only will they have a much bigger, established audience than you, helping to spread your brand, but influencers and ambassadors help shape the purchasing decision customers make about a brand.
It’s critical though that you select your influencers and ambassadors carefully, as the wrong choice may tarnish your brand overnight. Think about how many time Nike has dropped their ambassadors overnight because of the ambassador’s actions. Tiger Woods for cheating on his wife, Lance Armstrong and Maria Sharapova for doping and Oscar Pistorius for shooting his girlfriend. Most of this couldn’t be seen in advance, however, it’s critical you do your due diligence on anyone you sign up, look at their posts and make sure they will represent your brand in line with your brand guidelines rather than just looking for exposure and signing the biggest names and their audience.
You will need to advertise your brand across several platforms. A study confirmed it took a total of 7 adverts, placed across different media before the advert resonates with a consumer and triggers click to their website. Your adverts need to be engaging and follow your brand guidelines and make sure you don’t push too hard. Think about how annoying it is when you have visited a website to browse and then spend the next three weeks being stalked by that brand.
Printed media isn’t dead and although you can’t assess the ROI on a printed page in a magazine, remember that the publication you choose has an audience relevant to your brand and that 7-advert rule before people become customers.
When you create your advert, review it before you press “Publish”. Make sure the advert is communicating the right message and the demographic you target is right for this product and your target market. Does the image being used represent the product, your brand and your message correctly?
Believe it or not, we have worked with brands that used a third party social media advertising agency to post adverts using competitors’ images, then talk about a technology or fabric that isn’t in that image. This sloppy approach will kill your loyal audience overnight, and it has beforehand.
Think about non-competing brands that have an association with your sport or brand and reach out to them. Make sure you share similar brand values and potential target audience and see if you can create a collaboration with a view to spreading your brand to their audience and theirs to yours. It’s a good way to create buzz and perhaps get media to write about it, benefiting both brands.
The easiest way to collaborate is to create a product that both brands develop together. Keep the numbers low and exclusive to make it more special and guarantee it sells out fast leaving customers wanting more.
The biggest way to make a splash about your new brand is to tell the press who hopefully write an article and push the brand to their huge audience.
Create a spreadsheet of all the relevant press that your target customer may read and don’t just think about the printed press, remember bloggers, digital and newspapers.
Write a simple 500-1,000-word press release that represents the brand, why it exists and makes it so special and send this to your database you created along with some high res images for them to use.
From the database, think about whittling this down to a “top 5” publications and reach out to these guys in a more personal way. Perhaps ask for a meeting over a coffee to present the product or post them some product to test.
Getting a quality review of your brand where the journalist has tried your product and loves it will gain you far more than 20 small token snippets across publications that have less relevance.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The last piece of advice is to keep it simple. Remember, consumers are exposed to brand noise from the minute they open their eyes until bedtime. Keeping your message simple and easy to understand will help them digest and remember it.
We help our clients launch their start-up brands and offer advice and marketing strategy and services such as Brand Guidelines, PR, Advertising, SEO, Website and Social Media. If you want to launch your own sportswear brand and need support across these areas as well as Branding, Product Design, Sourcing, Samples and production, then get in touch and see how we can help.