How to market your shoe brand
Are you wondering how to market your shoe brand when you eventually have stock ready to sell? If this is the case, I’m glad you found this article today. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen new shoe companies make, is not actively marketing their brands well before they have products to sell.
So how do you start marketing your shoe brand before you have stock, or even samples to photograph? More importantly, who can you market to, how can you find your future customers, and why would they bother engaging with a brand that hasn’t even launched yet?
Who will buy your shoes?
Creating a “Customer Profile” might seem like pointless guesswork. As though you are writing about a fictional character who bears no resemblance to a real human who would consider parting with cash for a new pair of shoes.
However you will find that once you have analysed the motivations, desires, and psychological purchase journey of your target customer, you will find this profile replicated across many people. Humans are more similar to each other than we choose to believe we are. The key is asking the deeper questions that connect us. These can be found in the People Profiling module of my How to Start a Shoe Brand online course.
How will people find your shoe brand?
The most efficient way to get your budding shoe brand in front of your future customers is to create shoes they are actively looking for…and not finding. If your shoe brand actively solves a problem for people, you will find your potential audience wherever they are looking for answers. Write SEO-friendly blog posts they will find on Google. Record helpful YouTube videos. If your future customers love hearing tips from other people experiencing the same shoe shopping problems, they might follow niche influencers on TikTok or Instagram, or they will join Facebook communities or follow Reddit threads.
Creating a shoe brand based on a concept you think should exist rather than one people are desperately searching for could be the difference between failure and success. Or at least the difference between having to invest heavily in persuading people that they need your shoes, and having options for clever budget-friendly marketing.
Content ideas before you have shoes to photograph
If as we discussed in the last paragraph, your brand is solution-focused, then your marketing can be based on helpful advice. The tone of this advice is up to you. If you think the people in your customer profile respond well to humour, then make your content entertaining and consider posting it on a light-hearted platform like TikTok.
If your shoes are objects of desire rather than necessity, your marketing strategy is likely to be more subtle and complex. Here are some content ideas as a starting point:
- Create content series your customers will want to follow e.g. Quik Trenz’ This or That or Winnoh’s Wide Foot Struggles
- People love people. Try talking to camera about something your passionate about and believe your future customers will be too.
- Don’t feel you have to be corporate in your posts. Be quirky, silly or surprising, and your content is more likely to get noticed in a sea of generic quotes, dull blog posts, reasonably pleasant images, and monotonous video content.
- Post about other brands your customers will love
- Delight their senses. The concepts I wrote about in my How to make your shoe website tactile post can be used across all platforms.
A note on intellectual property
Try to use your own images wherever possible. Make sure you have permission to use images you do not own the copyright for.
Your shoe brand marketing tool kit
Social media platforms receive a lot of attention in shoe brand founders’ marketing strategies, so I wanted to remind you about the other important elements of how to market your shoe brand.
- Start building your mailing list from day one
- Employ an SEO expert to build key words and phrases into your website code
- PR is good for getting your name and brand in front of potential customers and creating inbound links to your website which will enhance your Google ranking. Before you have shoe samples, PR can come in the form of interviews with you the founder, and your expert comments on relevant topics. Afterwards, these formats will be complemented by fashion shoots, product round-ups and more. Consider hiring a PR freelancer for a few hours a week if this is not your favourite thing to do.
- Build real relationships with influencers well before you ask them to talk about your shoes
More tips on how to market your shoe brand
We love to brainstorm content ideas with each other in The Shoe Community: an online space where shoe start-ups and small shoe brand founders help solve each others’ problems. Many of the masterclasses you get access to when you join feature marketing topics such as:
- How to build an audience with TikTok
- Online retail success for your shoe brand
- How to connect with your shoe brand audience using social media
- How to build an audience before you have shoes to sell
Find out more about The Shoe Community, and apply to join here.