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Advertisng as Cheap as Possible without running throug the streets naked

edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Okay, so I'm looking to get a clothing label and an online store that sells my label as well as others started.
I have alot of the business plan together as far as inventory, style, target demographic. Pretty much everything except for advertising.

I am confident that once I have a couple hundred customers, word of mouth will go along way, but I don't think I could count for people I already know to be more than the first 10-20 customers. So the question is, how to get the name out without spending much money. Keep in mind I can sell to literally anybody around the world as it will be a internet based store. I'm primarily at the start advertising mostly to the t-shirt and jeans demographic, so mostly guys but girls too. Probably anywhere from 16-30. Generally speaking most items will be relatively affordable (T-shirts around the 20 dollar range which I know isnt the cheapest but isnt crazy either) and I plan to offer free shipping on orders over 50 dollars.

I've looked into internet advertising but it seems to be surprisingly expensive. I'm also looking for ideas to do something different that might gain more attention than a simple internet ad or radio commercial.

Edit: Yeah I missed the H in through, fuck.

BlackbeardonGuitar on


  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I don't know where you live, but maybe start small with something like a local college radio station?
    I mean, it's likely their target audience makes up a portion of yours, so that kind of helps. I know my local station offers cheaper rates than other radio.

    Also, maybe you could make a donation to an event/student newspaper at a highschool. You'll at least get your name in a "sponsored by" section where you could stick your web address.

    I don't know if any of this will work, but these seem like low cost ideas.

    tony_important on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    20$ for a T-shirt and free shipping for anything over 50$ is hideously cheap where I come from, given the quality isn't too shabby. If you have shit for people who look like long sticks I might actually be interested in buying. I mean, not buying for those prices would be silly. =/

    I'd limit myself to college radio/local newspaper for now like Tony says.

    Aldo on
  • LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If you have Facebook, (who doesn't?) make a group and invite all your friends and tell them to invite their friends and so on and so on. A few hundred (or more, easily) will know about your company really quickly.

    Along the lines of the college radio, go to the colleges and put up flyers. Super cheap...though probably doesn't have a huge rate of success.

    Lail on
  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    You don't have to restrict yourself to colleges either (and be aware that a lot of them will want to see the posters first and authorize them with a stamp). Wherever you live, there are probably a couple of areas that see a lot of traffic from young people. Staple or tape signs to telephone poles. Again, it's not all that effective, but it is cheap.

    For advertising further afield, join lots of forums and put a link in your sig. Don't shill your stuff directly, just be a consistent poster with a link in his sig to some cool t-shirts.

    Grid System on
  • meekermeeker Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Does your city have a free paper? Here in Minneapolis we have Citypages. Advertising there would hit your target audience and should not be too bad.

    The thing about advertising is there is a return on your investment. If you do it wisely, you will get more sales and better traffic, justifying the extra money spent on a good campaign.

    meeker on
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Where do you live? While you can sell to anyone in the world because you have an online store, the easiest way to start a buzz to focus locally.

    edit: I do have to say, I love the idea of running through the streets naked to advertise a clothing company.

    oldsak on
  • AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well, I have seen hardcore porn used as advertising for a clothing company. I suppose that streaking isn't too strange.

    No I'm not actually suggesting that you do either of those things.
    Lail wrote:
    Along the lines of the college radio, go to the colleges and put up flyers. Super cheap...though probably doesn't have a huge rate of success.

    Very hit or miss but they seem to get a lot of attention at this school. The only cost is printing, and if you spend a little more to make your poster stand out from dozens of black-ink-on-colored-paper posters you might get a little more attention.

    AresProphet on
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Along with the college thing, you may be able to advertise on the program for plays or theater type things. And I'm not necessarily talking about the bigger name shows people bring in (tho you could look into that too) but more for the student produced stuff. At least that way the people there will have it in hand and tend to read it while waiting for the play to start. Not sure if that would be your demographic, but it should be pretty cheap.

    lizard eats flies on
  • edited September 2008
    meeker wrote: »
    Does your city have a free paper? Here in Minneapolis we have Citypages. Advertising there would hit your target audience and should not be too bad.

    The thing about advertising is there is a return on your investment. If you do it wisely, you will get more sales and better traffic, justifying the extra money spent on a good campaign.

    Yeah the only thing I worry about with CityPages (I'm MN too) is that its just so overcrowded with ads, I could see it never been looked at unless it was like full page which is probably outrageously expensive.

    Keep the ideas coming, I'm liking a lot of these. Also anything strange or crazy will definitely be considered as I would like to get attention that I might not get otherwise.

    BlackbeardonGuitar on
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    hire an excited kid for a day or two to stand around campus or some local hangout in a bee costume, wearing one of your shirts and handing out flyers...
    That may create a buzz (sorry.. i... i had to)
    Not quite running thru the streets naked, but it would attract attention.

    If you have any friends who are in bands, offer to lug their gear around at a gig in exchange for a shout out during the show. Bonus points if you give them some of your line to wear at said show.

    lizard eats flies on
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Don't bother with radio, you want people to see your clothes not hear about them.

    I would try a sticker campaign. Get a few hundred stickers with a few different designs, your name, and your website and plaster areas your target demographic are likely to frequent. It's a pretty cheap and easy way to supplement any advertising campaign. A sticker won't tell a consumer anything about you, but if they've heard of you in passing, a sticker in an interesting place serves as reinforcement.

    You're going to want your website to be pretty interactive. You have to sell more than just clothes, you have to sell the lifestyle your clothes belong to. You're targetting a young demographic right? It's kind of a crowded market so you need to work hard to connect with your consumers and make them want to be a part of your world. Try putting up some youtube videos: a tour of your workshop or a day in the life kind of thing.

    Engage your local community. Throw parties. Host concerts. Do projects with other startups or established businesses.

    Just a start. If you want to pm me with specific information on your clothing company I can probably come up with ideas better tailored to you.

    oldsak on
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yeah I'd say Facebook/Myspace is the best route to go. Local Colleges work as well. And I agree, those prices are really cheap so it should be too hard!

    urahonky on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Movie theater, pre-movie advertising.

    It works surprisingly well. Captive audience, darkened room, giant lit screen showing your company logo.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • oncelingonceling Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I work for a .com, so I know some about ecommerce.

    You should investigate keeping some listings up with some of the bigger sites such as eBay. Also, (I can never stress this site enough). Just keep a couple of items up on those sites. When someone buys from you there, your messages to them can invite them to check out your personal website/store for future purchases.

    Exercise caution, do not go plastering your site URL in your listings on those sites, that won't be taken well (will get you in trouble). However not only is it allowed, but it is perfectly accepted that you notify your existing buyers from those sites that you have another way for them to purchase during the natural emails of your transaction with them.

    There is no purpose in putting your entire inventory on these sites, but a couple of listings that you feel demonstrate your brand will go a long way. eBay has insane numbers of hits, and gets you automatically into google. etsy is less so but assuming you're actually handmaking the clothing items, it's fine. If not, then don't bother with etsy. A couple of listings on etsy will run you like $0.20 each for some ridiculously long time like month or more. For eBay, its about $0.20 a week (before sale cost) assuming that you have a low starting price.

    That's pretty darn cheap advertising. etsy creates a store for you automatically, I haven't really seen what google hits are like for it though. eBay has a store with your own created name that will index into google for you. It has a monthly fee though, depends whether you think its worth it.

    Here is some information about google keywords:

    Generally, you want to look at the concepts of paid and natural search, partner sites that drive traffic to yours (this can be like making comments on blogs, creating an online presence in communities relevant to your purchasing demographic) through either your interaction on the site or through paid advertisements, and shopping comparison sites where your products and other products are mixed for review alongside each other.

    I know you were mainly interested in getting people to your site (marketing), but pretty soon if your advertising plan is good you're going to be wondering why your hits are not translating into purchases. I thought I'd offer some advice on this before you get to that stage. Here are some common mistakes that will cause people to click the back button:

    1. Page takes too long to load. Get a good host and don't be stupid with pictures.

    2. Shipping prices are not immediately available (don't ask international customers to email you, sorry, people shop online for convenience not to make friends with you via email). If you offer discounts for items shipped together, get out a calculator from your shipper and just do it and build it into the website.

    3. Pictures are too small (ok to thumbnail but make them easily resizable).

    4. For clothing, sizing means nothing, put the bust, waist, hips, armpit-armpit, length all out there on each specific item.

    5. Accept PayPal, credit cards or both. Other payment methods are at your discretion but these are basically required.

    6. Try to offer a lot of sizing options, even if you take custom orders for larger sizes and make them on-demand only. Plus sized clothing in trendy brands is a pretty lucrative business, believe it or not.

    EDIT: Oh and facebook and myspace are excellent, as others have already mentioned.

    onceling on
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