As a new business owner, and self-funded as most of us are, it makes a lot of sense to keep your marketing costs low. Social media is a great way to build brand awareness and stay within your budget, but, as Wei and I are finding with Avantūr, it’s a slow and steady burn.
It’s great to have social media as your foundational marketing tactic, but sometimes you need to employ different tactics from the promotional mix to give your brand an awareness boost. Here are two other tactics that we have explored–inexpensive and budget friendly–and why they may also make sense for your brand.
PR agencies can be great at helping you build your brand and creating press materials. In comparison to the other promotional methods, public relations is the most cost-effective while providing greater impact. Publicity has the added benefit of third-party endorsement which is independent organic buzz. Paid advertisement, an ineffective costly method for small businesses on a tight budget, lacks the credibility that PR efforts create. PR agencies also have strong relationships with the fashion industry’s most influential editors.
As we build out our marketing budget for each new item collection, we constantly ask ourselves if access to those relationships is worth the expense. Although we have enough branding experience and relationships between the two of us to meet our brand’s needs, there may be a point when we need the connections only a professional agency can provide.
With limited funds, we’ve tried to make the most of our investment in inventory. In fact, when Wei and I produced our first item collection, we were hesitant to take two coats off the rack and wear them because we were hoping to sell them instead. We soon realized that we were the best brand ambassadors. If we don’t wear our brand, why should anyone else? Every time we wear it, we always get compliments and questions about the brand. It’s amazing to be able to say it’s our own design, which drives excitement and more traffic to our site.
As an extension of this strategy, we’ve also thoughtfully gifted to friends and family–those who best represent our brand–and are now finding ways to gift key editors and bloggers, too.
Building awareness and finding your audience is a slow and steady process, and it will take more than one marketing tactic to get traction. A series of tests and experiments will help you find the right mix. Be patient as developing brand awareness, especially in the highly saturated fashion market, takes time.