Seven Components of Effective Online Marketing from WWDMAGIC Brands

Seven Components of Effective Online Marketing from WWDMAGIC Brands

Monday, July 14 2014

This month, MAGIC brands have explored the many components of successful marketing for women’s brands. From social media to websites, we are helping our exhibitors and retailers understand the evolving online landscape by looking at the successful practices of the brands that exhibit at FNPlatform, SOURCING and WWDMAGIC. 

As part of our social media study of 12 Successful WWDMAGIC Brands, we also examine the components that they utilize online in order to build ecommerce and online revenue. These tactics included email marketing, affiliate programs, blogger collaborations, public relations, company blogs and online purchases.


Consistent Brand Voice and Messaging

Though not outlined on our chart, the WWDMAGIC brands that are successful online do their best to maintain the brand image that their customers relate to. These brands keep their brand voice consistent across all channels of communication, including their websites and various social media accounts. These brands are careful to keep their messaging consistent.  They have taken the time to understand how their customers prefer to be communicated with as well as how their customers search for the products that they want to buy.


Ecommerce 

All of the brands present in our study had ecommerce integrated into their websites; the only exception was Jessica Simpson, which is currently undergoing a redesign, so directed traffic to the retailers who carry products in-store or online. Many WWDMAGIC brands are afraid of selling directly to consumers via e-commerce because they believe that buyers and retailers will not want to carry their products.

There are pros and cons to selling online in a B2B or B2C capacity. It is important to research the role of online sales revenue in your overall revenue and expansion goals. For example, if you sell exclusively to Saks 5th Avenue or Nordstrom, maybe you can test ecommerce with a small collection of goods that are not found in those retail stores and do not compete with that retailer’s distribution of your product.


Email Marketing

As with ecommerce, every WWDMAGIC brand had email capture as the first feature available when visiting their websites. The call to action was to “stay in the know,” and most offered 10, 15 and even 20 percent off your first purchase for subscribing to their email list. For retailers, email continually proves to be the most effective marketing technique. It is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter. Capturing emails is important for all brands looking to expand their customer base. The advancements in data are going to help make targeting and remarketing even more effective for those with great ecommerce foundations.


Public Relations 

The next important element of all the WWDMAGIC brand websites was the “press” or “public relations” section. PR is a very important component of marketing for a fashion brand. From magazine editorials to celebrity dressings, blogger features to TV show inclusion, press validates a brand.


Blogger Collaborations

All of the WWDMAGIC brands surveyed had worked with bloggers. The three most common ways were:

  1. Outfit Posts: The brand gave the blogger key items from their collections and let the blogger style her own outfit. The blogger then referenced the brand in her post and social media accounts.
  2. Contests and Giveaways: If the brand wanted to sponsor a contest or give away an item, often they employed bloggers to review the product.  The bloggers would then ask their audience to leave a comment for a chance to win.
  3. Brand Campaigns: When a brand launched a campaign for a specific season or collection, they often employed bloggers as brand ambassadors or models, featuring them on their website.

Working with bloggers is often handled by the brand’s or retailer’s social media firm or PR agency.  However, if the company is large enough, they sometimes do this work in-house. Since influencer marketing is evolving so rapidly, many brands prefer to outsource it to someone that specializes in this area. Most often, bloggers receive free product (which they must disclose according to FTC regulations) and are paid a fee depending on the complexity of the brand campaign. Working with video bloggers on Vine, Instagram, and YouTube also falls into collaborations.  It is important to note that these pieces of content are often more costly than working with traditional influencers, but as consumer behavior shifts to mobile and video, it is an investment usually worth paying.


Affiliate Programs

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts. Over 50% of WWDMAGIC brands are currently using affiliate programs through their ecommerce providers or third parties such as ShopStyle or rewardStyle. According to Wikipedia, the affiliate industry has four core players: the merchant (the retailer or brand), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (the affiliate) and the customer.

Affiliate marketing allows brands to earn new customers and online sales through the efforts of publishers and those using links to generate revenue from content featured on their websites.  If you use Volusion, Amazon, or Magento, inquire about affiliate programs that you may be able to leverage to build product distribution. If you’re using a smaller platform such as Shopify, then look at Olapic, rewardStyle or even Polyvore in order to develop one. If you only sell B2B, then ask your retail partners how they are leveraging affiliate programs to drive product sales, and see if you can help.


Brand Blogs

WWDMAGIC junior contemporary brands such as BCBGeneration, Free People, and Miss Me have all built blogs into their ecommerce websites. Content is important to juniors’ brands who use “lifestyle” to market to their customers. When you are creating interactive content and activities that drive your customer back to your website, a blog is a great destination for them to land to find whatever information drew them in from your social networks and online channels.

Blogs are like your online magazine, and your audience is interested in this type of content. It is easier to draw your customers into an article than it may be to get them to immediately convert to a purchase. The journey for the millennial consumer is complex, so the experience that the brand provides is important.

Please note that when it came to womens’ brands with older customer bases, most of them lacked blogs, but maintained a consistent presence on social networks in order to avoid disrupting the consumer experience. Womens’ brands with female customers over the age of 28 will find that many of their customers do not read blogs, so more traditional forms of marketing like email and customer loyalty programs are better for sales. These brands use social media to allow access by those customers.


Websites are the Key to Your Future Success

Whether you are currently online or not, a website is key to your online success. Your website should be mobile friendly and feature the key components that will help your B2B and B2C customers find what they need. Make sure that your products and collections are featured, your social media accounts are linked to your website and that your customers can readily find your contact information. If you have decided to incorporate onlines sales into your marketing mix, then follow the steps above in order to have the best website possible. Good luck in the expansion of your brand!