A few weeks ago I received an email from someone on our mailing list. She’s prepping to launch a new business and wrote, "I'm launching a fashion brand in July and would like to know how soon in advance should I start a marketing my brand and what is the most effective ways to get people engaged even with no site or product for them to purchase yet?"
First and foremost when you create your marketing strategy I recommend starting to promote your business at least one to two months prior to your launch date. You want enough time to build an audience and to get people excited about the launch of your business. At the same time, you don't want the timeline for your launch date to be so long that your audience starts to lose interest
If you're prepping to launch a business keep reading for tips on how to build an audience and create brand awareness before you launch your brand.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
The number one thing that’s going to help you build an engaged audience is to know who your target customer is. Whether you’re finalizing the details of your lookbook, designing your website or picking fabrics, it’s important that you always create with a specific target customer in mind and that you know, “who’s buying this?” You want to make sure that you’re reaching the people who are most likely going to be interested in your product and most likely to buy.
By knowing who your target customer is and how your product benefits their lives, you can then effectively market your business in a way that will get the attention of your customers and result in sales.
GET THEIR EMAIL
Your website and e-commerce site may not be completely ready when you begin marketing your launch, and that’s okay. I highly recommend that you create a "coming soon" landing page for your website along with an email opt-in. The purpose of a landing page is to give visitors a sense of what your brand is about and encourage people to return once the site launches. Capturing the email addresses of your audiences allows you to stay in communication with them and to keep them informed of what's going on, continue to generate excitement about your launch and to remind them when the site is live and your product is ready.
If you don’t capture email addresses, you’re leaving it up to them to remember your launch date and to remember to come back and visit your site once it’s gone live.
GET ON SOCIAL
Having a strong visually branded online presence is a really important element to a successful launch. Your social media platforms (and website) are the first place media and potential customers will look when they hear about you and are the first introduced to your business (especially since your full website and collection will not yet be ready.) Creating strong social platforms will help get people engaged and excited about your business even before your launch.
Rather than being on every platform, I recommend starting with two platforms and focusing on posting consistent content and generating excitement about your brand.
FOCUS ON BUILDING COMMUNITY
Community is what builds brands and creates buzz and hype around a brand. Followers tend to watch from afar and don’t necessarily interact with you by liking, commenting or engaging. And many times, they don’t buy from you. There’s nothing wrong with having an audience. People get busy and don’t check their social media feeds. Or, they follow so many people that it’s impossible to see everything or have the time to comment on each picture on their feed. Totally understandable. The goal, however, is to create platforms where people want to engage. When they log on to Instagram they deliberately go to your page to see your latest posts.
A community engages. When you post something they comment, they like, they share it with their friends and they buy. Creating a sense of community within your brand is important because it creates a sense of belonging and an emotional connection between your customers and your business. Many social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram now reward your engagement rate (the percent of interactions compared to a number of followers you have). The more engagement your posts get, the more these social platforms share your content with your followers and new people.
Focus on building community and creating authentic relationships with your target customers on your social platforms rather than building your numbers. Their engagement is what will help you build your brand awareness.