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Initial online advertising spending!

Discussion in 'Internet Marketing and Promotion' started by engine1990, Jul 26, 2016.

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  1. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    Hello

    I have a custom apparel manufacturing business that I am trying to make primarily online. I also have a clothing brand that is a secondary project I am doing little by little to see what happens.

    My question is: right now I just finished a website for the manufacturing business. I am wondering what is the first step to get my name out there? Where should I put that first initial advertising money? How do I cast a giant net in the beginning while using minimal cost? I obviously do not mind spending necessary money but I'm wondering where I should put my limited cash flow in the beginning that will be the most beneficial and give my the best return right now. I'm just trying to get to the next step. Nothing crazy

    Thanks!!
     

  2. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    Your next best bet would be to do promotion campaigns through social media. Instagram, Facebook, perhaps Twitter. IG is your best bet, since it's mainly a visual platform. I don't recommend paying someone to promote through those avenues, not unless you're capable of producing a tonne of new image-based content regularly. So handle that yourself for the moment. Gauge interest and see how people respond.

    Fund expenditure should be placed on the best place to maximize impact. Think about it, when you consider shopping for brands, what are your main considerations? Price? Style? Fit? Each require a different strategy. So, understand your target audience, develop a plan of attack to get those customers, then zero in on the promotion aspect.

    Regardless of what aspect you're targeting, the one thing that everyone wants to see, is how the clothing looks. If you cheap out on this, you won't make it. Full stop. No one wants to see clothing on a plastic hangar in some dim dorm room. It doesn't show what the brand is about. It doesn't show how it fits. It doesn't show style. It looks cheap, and people will think it's some crap made in China. A lot of other clothing brands do this, most of those never get anywhere.

    So if you want to see if you can make it, spend the funds on hiring attractive models. Spend on hiring a decent photographer. Get a good location that suits the tastes of your target demographic, and get going. If your line of products are fun tshirt prints, hire surfers, hire attractive girls, have then run and smile in the beach on a sunny blue sky day. Get some nice tan IG filters going. Then post that on IG and other social sites. Develop your brand from that. Get an identity going, who the product is best for, what it represents, what feelings it promotes, etc... Do it right, and people will respect the brand, they'll consider it seriously. Continue to produce new fresh pictures, more range of products, and people may actually start to buy your products.

    It starts with the look, so get that right.
     
  3. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    Awesome info! Great stuff about how to get my clothing brand more attention.

    Do you also have any insight regarding my manufacturing business? I do screen printing/ embroidery and direct to garment. I can handle a lot of volume as well. All of the production is set up and all that I just need to figure out the best way to get people to see me in this beginning stages.
     
  4. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    Sorry, I can't provide advice there, as I don't have any experience in manufacturing. It's good you've got that covered though, you can ramp up production when demand comes. For now however, you need to put in 100% of your energy into what I suggested above. Hire models, get samples of your products that fit well to those models. Tailor them for a better fit if you have to, just make it fit great. Work with a decent photographer/studio. Etc..

    Once you have dozens/hundreds of shots ready, transfer your full focus on to IG. If you don't have experience with IG, I suggest learning it right now. Understand the community, understand what they enjoy seeing. They love fresh professional-level quality images. They love interacting with the person behind the brand. So integrate yourself, and really devote yourself to that platform. Make sure you have enough content for a month for the promotional campaign.

    See how it goes.
     
  5. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    Haha great stuff man!!

    That sounds great and makes complete sense to put my energy into that. I'm going to start that process now. How many designs do you think are good to start out with before I go live with it. I have logo t shirts in the works right now and two other concepts that have yet to be created. I was thinking five different designs or so.
     
  6. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    If your products right now only span tshirt designs, then do as many as you can. You have to make up for a lack of product range with a glut of design range. Can't say if five is enough, it all depends on various factors. What about the logo? Is it professional enough?

    You might be craving for examples. I've seen one over on Reddit:
    Bamboo Sunglasses and Wood Watches.Made from 100% Real Bamboo and Wood

    They sell bamboo frames, they were small-time, and the guy did exactly what was suggested. Posted all about it on Reddit I believe. Notice the professional level images, can you feel that warmth? Check out their IG. Understand that they're not selling frames, they're selling a lifestyle. Absorb it, and learn how to replicate it.
     
  7. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    Bro that's awesome I see exactly what you mean about selling the lifestyle. It's hard since I'm not the creative when it comes to design ideas so I kind of have to rely on others to get it done. So designs are hard to come by for me. The logo I love and can kind of incision a lifestyle with it. More of a skate/ surf scene type. So the designing and conceptializing of Art is my bottle neck right now. Any idea how to over come that? I've tried to pay people and even then nothing. I feel like until I mak a name for myself people won't take it serious. But it's all contingent on the deigns in the first place so I'm kind of stuck
     
  8. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    Unfortunately that's the problem with breaking into apparel market right now. Since the barrier of entry is low, almost anyone can "try their luck" as it were, and compete with other emerging brands. So you have a tonne of competition, lots of low-quality stuff, low-visibility, and customers spoiled for choice. It's an uphill battle. To succeed, you need to stand out from the rest. One of the ways is by re-engineering the business, and sell it as a lifestyle. Another good way is by doing great designs. Interesting designs attracts people. Even doing it as a lifestyle requires a minimal threshold of acceptable-level design. If your weakness is in design, then you'll have no choice but to find another way to go about it.

    I can't help you there. A lot of great designers tried their hand at it, and almost all of them failed. I personally wouldn't consider hiring designers for the task. If you somehow found success, the business would rest on the shoulders of the designer, wouldn't it? If he/she decides to leave you, they can start their own label, and run with the success you've had. Then you'll have to find a new designer and see if you can find success again, and have a formidable competitor as well. You'd almost have to start from scratch, and if customers don't like the new designs, your brand loses all momentum.

    Also, success really depends on other factors - even if the quality of the designs are great, and the promotion is top-notch, there's still no guarantee it'll succeed. The market flows, it pulsates between different styles and genres. One moment hipster-inspired apparel is a hit, then it's not. Another moment skate/surf apparel becomes a hit, then the trend is gone. It's almost random. You have to catch it right as the wave begins to form, you then build the business as it forms into a surf. For this reason, you also need to time it right. Consider the seasons - promoting right now means it could catch on 2 months from now (if things go well). If you primarily sell summer apparel, you'd have lost your momentum, because it'll be Fall soon. Do you have Fall/Winter items in your range? I'd consider starting on that instead. If you want to do Spring/Summer, the campaign should have started 2-3 months ago.

    Getting back on point, not all is bad news however. If your main ability is in manufacturing/production (and not design), you can consider teaming up with indie artists instead. I'm not sure if you've heard, but Zara is in the news lately, and it turns out that they've been ripping off indie designers for their range of products:
    40+ designs stolen by Zara • /r/Design

    I wouldn't consider those as awesome designs, and I can't say how successful Zara is with it, but it appears there might actually be a market for them. The lesson here isn't that you can get away with low quality designs, but that you could find success by offering a lot of them, as a sort of theme. So, consider offering your business as a platform for designers to try their designs on the general public. The public will see that your brand offers fresh designs constantly, so they'll want to see what you have. You then make a deal with each designer for a certain percentage of profits. Everyone wins. Obviously you'll probably need to do a different path in terms of photographic style. Something more repeatable, but not boring.
     
    engine1990 likes this.
  9. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    Haha man you are blowing my mind right now! This is seek me info and makes complete sense as long as I can execute. I love the concept of being a platform for indie artists! It will help me get more designs and also be able to help people at the same time! Also that is a good point about the seasons, I would of never thought of that. I need to look into some winter apparel as well.

    So with all this awesome Imfo I am trying to figure out how to put them into manageable steps in order to accomplish this. So where should I start today? What do I need to accomplish right now In order to do those things.
     
  10. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    I'd start with what you can produce, then brainstorm ideas of what products you can offer. Eg. You can manufacture embroidery right? So how about something on long-sleeved polos? Perhaps hoodies? No need for extravagant designs that encompass large portions of the apparel, those don't look good. Can you replicate everyone else out there either (like small polo rider emblems on polos like Ralph Polo or whatever)? Maybe, maybe not. Your logo doesn't have the brand power that RL does, so no one will care what the logo says. You need something different, something that others have not tried yet. At the same time, it can't resemble some cheap no-brand China thing. Perhaps seek advice from designers in forums.

    If you come up blank, forget design and just think outside the box. It's 2016, we have actual electric cars out there that's beating the shit out of petrol-based and soon to be extinct hunks of junks. We have a super popular AR game out right now that's making people fit. So, why not do something similar for apparel? Thicker materials could allow for gadget integration. Seek advice or partnerships with engineers, and stick an LED into the hoodie. Just imagine, a hood that looks like something out of Tron. First versions can be single colors. If it takes off, consider letting people control colors and pulses using an app.

    But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Once you're sure what products you can offer, consider the timing well. How long does it take to get a thousand items out the door? How fast can you get samples for the models? And put together a promotion? How much time can you spend doing it on IG? I'd plan timetables, budgets, timeframes, carefully consider every aspect of what you need to do. If you've got nothing much on your plate, I would put everything on putting together a better plan of attack. And work on your day job to earn a bit more to expand your budget.
     
  11. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    Man idk who you are but thank you! You are opening my mind to avenues I havnt considered. Is say for a thousand pieces 7-10 days being conservative and probably a little less for samples. Te promotion is another skill I am ignorant of. I don't have confidence in that department or have a ballpark idea of what it takes to do those things. But so for now I'll do what I can which is get product ideas down. Try to get in touch with artists.

    I want atleast a few tangible items in the coming weeks just to have something real as a jumping off point. I'm thinking of getting a baseball t logo design, white and then gray t shirt left chest logos. Some hats too. I think this will give me atleast something to market and show while I get ther designs in order
     
  12. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    Good, and try to get an idea of whether a concept works as well. If you're promoting to a mass audience, it's a good idea to seek advice from crowdsourced folks. Designers in forums for example.

    Here's another something for you to consider:
    The Daily Exclusive | TeeFury

    They started purely as a t-shirt business selling one design from a single selected designer each day (same like the platform idea I mentioned, with a twist). Each day is a design from a single designer. They then moved on to two designers competing with each other. Now, they've expanded their range to include hoodies, leggings, skirts, and more.
     
  13. engine1990

    engine1990 Entrepreneur

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    I'm going to et started on this ASAP. In this phase I guess I'll just

    1. Make lists of different products to sell
    2. Get multiple designs
    3. Try to get in touch with artists
    4. Get some samples made up (logo Ts, hats for now)
    5. Get a bunch of well made pictures of people wearing the samples
    6. After that put those pictures to social media

    I'm guessing after that is all done i will be ready for the next phase. Anything you think I should add?
     
  14. bob1978

    bob1978 Entrepreneur

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    When I suggested discussing with artists & designers, I also meant more in terms of getting their approval for your concepts, to see if your brainstormed ideas work, and to also network with them.

    But otherwise, yes, the list's looking great. Best of luck to you.
     
  15. Diken Smith

    Diken Smith Entrepreneur

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    Hey, you have clothing business, its very competitive business in the market, now many apparel business closed because lack of advertising promotion. if you want to sustain your business in the market you must be advertise your business with right strategy, you need to engage with vender, designer, customer, emails and all and proper response to all who is connected with your business.

    First, Email is the best way to promote your business, make a list of all who is connected with this business and send email with attractive offers and clear message about your products and its quality. you can try other free email marketing tool for the same.

    Second, you can try Adword for branding your clothing apparels business, initially you can try CPM bidding means that you pay based on the number of impressions (times your ads are shown) that you receive on the Google Display Network. This would be very fast brand promotion.

    There are many ways to advertise but these are just basic and initial spending on advertise.

    Hope this will help you!
     
  16. azgold

    azgold Moderator Entrepreneur

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    CPM = You pay a certain amount per 1,000 impressions. :)
     

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