Building an excited community before you launch your fashion business is a no-brainer. This might look like a very difficult task but it is worth it in the end. If you ignore this, you might end up launching to crickets. I don’t want that for you so I went ahead and wrote out how to build an excited community before launching your fashion business. I want you to succeed in fashion business and building an engaged community is one very important step of the journey.
There are a variety of ways you can build your community, it all depends on the one that is easy for you to follow. You can build your community of raving fans offline (if you already know people who love your brand), on social media, or via emails. However, my favorite is via email and I will tell you why in a bit.
Your pre-launch community can also serve as your beta testers for your MVP (minimum viable product). This community and your pre-launch marketing checklist are necessary to support you and promote your marketing messages.
HOW TO BUILD AN EXCITED COMMUNITY BEFORE LAUNCHING YOUR FASHION BUSINESS LIKE A PRO!
1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO START SMALL
It is tempting to go all out when building a community. Some fashion startups go on an aggressive marketing spree and look out for top fashion influencers to help them market and build an audience. This is the wrong way as it might cost too much and yield little results. Instead, start with what you have and where you are. You really don’t need a crowd that isn’t very excited. A few core people who may be friends but fit into your target market are fine. Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask people to join in.
When you have a couple of people interested:
Share your vision and how helpful your product is. Get to know them (your target audience/community) more by asking questions and let them ask you questions about your product too. This will help you predict the questions new customers will have. It’ll also build a bond and make them feel like part of your brand. Imagine raving fans waiting to cheer you on when you launch!
You can always scale it once you’re ready, but the early members of your community will help define, drive, and grow it.
2. PULL DOWN YOUR WALLS AND GET PERSONAL
Never underestimate the power of human factors. You need them to trust you and you can easily do this by seemingly unimportant acts like sending a personal welcome note to new members. When you send each person a personal note addressing them by name and thanking them for joining in, a part of their emotion is moved whether consciously or unconsciously. You can do this through emails, direct messages on social media and handwritten notes as the case may be.
Remember I said I loved email the most?
Well, email makes sending this personal notes very easy. When you are preparing to launch your fashion business, they’ll be too many things you need to do. In order for you not to get overwhelmed you’ll need to outsource and automate some things. Email is one thing you can automate for FREE. An email auto-responder can be created and scheduled in advance. This type of email series is triggered when someone joins the list. It goes out over a period of time to nurture the relationship and interact your new member. The best part is that it is capable of addressing every new member by name which makes them feel like the message was written for only them.
After deciding on the channel of delivery, you need to give your community a name, think- marlians, titans, cupcakes etc. It strengthens their sense of belonging. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll see that I address my posts to fashionpreneurs because my community is made of fashion entrepreneurs.
Lastly, this is not the time to talk about your small business in the third person like some staff is writing on your behalf. Stop acting like you hold only the position of CEO. Many fashion business owners are solopreneurs when they launch and you shouldn’t be ashamed of your humble beginnings. You shouldn’t be telling them about how awesome your business is. It is a time to get personal. Be honest about the challenges you faced. Tell them what made you create the product or service you created and all your wins. There is a lot of power in vulnerability
3. CREATE VALUE CONSISTENTLY
You can’t create a community, tick it off your to-do list and forget all about it. You have to keep them engaged and excited. Do exclusive behind the scenes, access to early bird prices, use them as your beta testers to get their inputs about your product design, packaging etc. The sky is the limit!
You might have the best intentions and still fail at this. You shouldn’t be working with a guess because you might just be doing stuff your members hate. If you don’t know what they want, you can simply ask! That’s why you have the community after all.
If you fashion business is focused on a charity cause, letting your members know that a percentage from the sales will be used for a charity that they also care about, works wonders. You might find that you don’t have to give discounts or even freebies to get them to become paying customers. They just want to support you because they honestly care about your brand
4. FIND YOUR BRAND AMPLIFIERS
It is very easy to find your amplifiers. Even if you are too busy or not paying attention closely. They are the people who are always the conversation starters and organizers. Someone joining the community newly might think they’ve been there for years. They are usually friendly and noticed by the rest of the community for the right reasons.
You can easily identify your amplifiers in person or on social media platforms like facebook and WhatsApp groups. It is not easy for amplifiers to shine through emails since members cannot all see messages from each other. Howbeit, they are usually the ones more likely to reply your emails when you send them out.
They are the early ambassadors of your business and you should make it easy for them to help you. Remember you’re looking to build the KNOW, LIKE and TRUST factor. These people will easily give you referrals if they like you. You need to give your amplifiers recognition for all the help they provide in keeping your community active. A little acknowledgement or special discount can go a long way.
Your amplifiers will be the ones to not only help drive your community. They’ll also be the ones to start bringing in their friends, recommending your brand to others, and coming out to events (if you host them!).
It is important to prepare your community for launch as you prepare other things using your pre-launch marketing checklist. Give them specific directions of how they can help you launch like a pro. Send them images and hashtags to use on social media. Ask them to share your product with their friends and family. Tell them when they can purchase too!
It is easy to automate this via email. You could write a couple of emails to go out every day leading to your launch date or create social media content in advance and schedule with buffer. All this is required to build excitement and make your launch easy.
I hope you found this steps on how to build an excited community for your pre-launch fashion business useful. Please let me know in the comments.