Apparel wholesalers and manufacturers often neglect digital marketing, focusing instead on trade shows and in-person events. This is a mistake.
Apparel wholesalers and manufacturers often neglect digital marketing, focusing instead on trade shows and in-person events. This is a mistake.

A primary marketing vehicle for apparel wholesalers is exhibiting at trade shows. It means booking space, creating and printing marketing materials, funding travel, and entertaining clients — spending big bucks for a limited number of buyers.

Unfortunately, apparel wholesalers don’t typically devote an equal amount of money and effort to online marketing. This is a huge mistake. Exhibiting at a trade show can expose products to a few hundred buyers for a couple of days. Marketing online can expose those products to thousands of potential customers every day, worldwide.

I call this “manufacturers’ mentality” — i.e., just obtain orders and manufacture products. Many manufacturers and wholesalers view online marketing as a gamble. They spend the money and pray for results. And most of the time, the results are unsatisfactory because the manufacturers don’t invest in top talent, consultants, tools, and other resources.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I recently took a startup apparel manufacturer from zero sales to hundreds of thousands — all with a small budget. It’s a simple strategy with, usually, seven components.

I’ll describe it in this post.

High-converting Website

The owner of fashion wholesaler recently told me that he spent tons of money on pay-per-click ads with insignificant results. The problem was high bounce rates on the home page and fewer than expected customer registrations. The site was unclear as to what kind of business it was and why a retailer would buy from it. New visitors — potential customers — could not understand. I impressed on the owner that he has just a few seconds to convince visitors to stay.

I suggested these steps:

  • Have a dominant and clear message that explains the website.
  • Treat the primary home-page banner as a booth display at a trade show.
  • Have consistent colors and images.
  • Use readable, traditional fonts — not trendy or old fashioned.
  • Pay close attention to photography. It is the primary selling tool when prospects can’t touch…