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How to create a Digital Marketing plan for Fashion

In this post we cover the steps for creating a digital marketing plan for Fashion brands to support the online business. At the end of the post you find also a template of Fashion Marketing calendar. This article focus specifically on the marketing calendar and marketing plan, for a general overview of Digital Marketing activities see our Digital Marketing for Fashion article.

What are the main traffic channels used by fashion companies? Which are the key activities we need to include a fashion digital marketing plan? When should we expect conversions to to happen?

In this article we cover the following elements.

  1. Objectives & Target
  2. Budget
  3. Channels
  4. Messages
  5. Calendar
  6. Measurement
  7. Marketing funnel

Goals and Targets: what are the results to be expected?

What are the goals of digital marketing for fashion?

The goals of digital marketing in fashion industry are:
– Develop brand awareness and brand positioning
– Drive qualified traffic to the online store
– Retain customers through after purchase initiatives

How to measure performance marketing results?

The goal of performance marketing is to generate actions by the audience that we can measure through metrics that are relevant for the brand. Here some examples:
Visits to a web page
Subscriptions to the newsletter
Purchase of products

A digital marketing plan is effective if it brings measurable results like sales, leads and qualified visits of the website.

In-channel marketing

Some digital marketing channels that don’t drive traffic to your website immediately, this is the case with social networks like instagram where users prefer to engage with the brand directly in the channel rather than leave the application. You can use these channels to generate conversions within the channel.

Digital Fashion Marketing Plan Map

If only a small percentage of the visitors of a fashion website convert into sales, why do we drive all that traffic to our website? What do we do with the 90% or more of visitors who don’t convert? To answer this question we need to look at the fashion digital marketing funnel (picture). The funnel represent at the top the majority of people who are considered to be qualified traffic which means that the messages that we communicate through our campaign are relevant to these people and therefore they are likely to be interested in our products.

Digital Marketing Funnel

The goal of a fashion ecommerce digital marketing plan is to acquire qualified traffic that will convert into sales. But not all the traffic that the marketing campaigns will drive to the ecommerce will convert into sales. The majority of the traffic will not convert into sales especially the first time the users engage with your brand. The percentage of visits that converts into sales online usually varies from 0.5% to 10% which is also called Conversion Rate

Digital marketing funnel infographic

The digital marketing funnel: from Awareness (at the top) > Discovery > Consideration > Conversion > Loyalty > Advocacy. Which communication channels and strategy to use for each segment.
The digital marketing funnel is a progressive improvement of the statistical probability that a user will convert. The users that are in the high part of the funnel will convert less than the users in the bottom part.

To make an example we can consider a brand like Gucci and one of its products a women’s leather handbag. Because Gucci is a luxury product the potential customers are ‘high spenders’, and since we are talking about e-commerce we want to target women with high income who are interested in online shopping. We will see later how to target the people using platforms like google ads and facebook ads.

Now that we have defined our target audience we need to decide what we expect these people to do, and we use the fashion digital marketing funnel to assign an action to each stage of the communication.

The 1° and 2° stage: brand awareness, first visits

In the first two stages we know that we are talking to people who perhaps never visited our website before and therefore aren’t likely to convert immediately. 

Marketers should expect the first time visitors to either visit 2 or 3 pages and perhaps a small percentage of those will subscribe to the brand newsletter. The newsletters, also called Direct Email Marketing DEM, are still one of the most important channels of customer acquisition for Fashion and Luxury brands. In some cases the newsletter can generate up to 25% of the total revenue of the ecommerce channel.

The 3° Stage: micro conversions

In the third stage of the marketing funnel we see the majority of the Micro Conversions. Micro conversions are actions taken by the visitors of the website, that are relevant to the brand:

  • Visit more than 5 pages
  • Spend more than 5 minutes on the site
  • Subscribe to the newsletter
  • Create an account
  • Add a product to the wishlist
  • Add a product to cart

These are all signals that the visitor is interested in brand’s products and that the visitor is likely to buy soon.

The 4° Stage: macro conversions, purchase

In the CONVERSION phase of the digital fashion marketing funnel, the visitor is likely to convert by purchasing online. The users in this group have most of the times been exposed to the brand’s messages several times. The visitor may have seen the brand’s message on Instagram, than on an online magazine, perhaps she has received a newsletter with an offer or a product announcement and she has decided to buy online. This is also called omnichannel marketing funnel. See picture below.

The customer journey is divided into pre-sale, sale and after-sale. The customer journey can span across several channels or "touch points"
The fashion omnichannel marketing funnel where the customer interacts with different communication channels before making a purchase and then continues the interaction on another channel, in the picture the last touch point is the Customer Service of the Brand.

In this phase some brands try to speed up the conversion by offering some special deals to these clients, for example if a visitor has added a product to the shopping bag but didn’t complete the purchase, the brand may offer a discount on the product that is currently in the shopping bag of the visitor. These type of marketing activities are called retargeting or remarketing as they target a person who has already been on the brand’s website. In particular we are talking about Abandoned Cart campaigns that can be done via email or on the website.

The 5° Stage: retention

After a visitor has converted into a customer, the fashion brand needs to make sure the customer has the best experience possible with the product and the brand, in other words we need to meet customer expectations or exceed them if possible.

A positive after-sale experience will likely generate loyalty to the brand, repeated purchases and even spontaneous word of mouth.

Digital Fashion Academy

If a customer is happy he/she will likely be up for giving the brand a good review on social networks or on other online channels. The positive reviews will enhance the brand’s reputation and sentiment which will have 2 effects:

Brand’s ambassadors

  • Increase the trustability of the brand’s products and service, which will increase the likelihood of other visitors to convert into customers
  • Will generate word of mouth communication which will turn into more brand awareness and more visitors for the brand.

Fashion brands can use several tools in these last two phases of the fashion digital marketing funnel, but in particular they can use:

Retention marketing tools

  • Loyalty programs: rewarding your customers and repeated customers with prizes that can be either physical goods or experiential rewards.
  • Online reviews: on social networks or specialised websites like Trustpilot.
  • Social network inclusive engagement, give the customers visibility by publishing their photos on your social networks or inviting the customers to send you their photos.
  • CRM Customer Relationship Management: use marketing technology applications to create a database of all your customers and track their purchase history and the history of interactions in a Single Customer View Database.

Digital Fashion Marketing Budget

In order to implement the Digital Fashion Marketing Plan you will need a budget that you will need to allocate on several different expenditure categories:

  1. Search Engine Advertising
  2. Social Media Advertising
  3. Retargeting campaigns
  4. Video Advertising
  5. Affiliation
  6. Direct Email Marketing Platform
  7. Content creation: photography, graphics, copy and translations
  8. Search Engine Optimisation consultancy
  9. Technical implementation
  10. Digital PR
  11. Social Media Management 

Marketing activities prioritisation

The digital marketing budget however is not infinite. Therefore you will need to prioritise the activities and you will only carry out the activities that are actually feasible considered your budget and the resources available in the Digital Marketing team. Usually the channels and campaigns that are considered high priority are the activities with highest Return on Advertising Spend ROAS. To calculate the ROAS we divide the sales generated by a specific campaign, let’s say 1 Mln Euros divided by the marketing spend, let’s say 250K, that equals 4. In this case the ROAS is 400% or 4 times the amount of money invested.

ROAS and Cost per Action or Acquisition

This approach is OK when you are able to estimate with good precision the ROAS or if you are using a digital marketing agency that is able to give you this estimate of ROAS. 

You should also consider how much you can efficiently spend to acquire a new customer. If you spend 30 USD to sell a product but your operating margin is on average 20 USD for each sale, you will lose 10 USD for each sale. The CPA is calculate by dividing the total digital marketing spend by the number of transaction.

The average amount you’ve been charged for a conversion from your ad. Average cost per action (CPA) is calculated by dividing the total cost of conversions by the total number of conversions.


If you are not in this situation you can simply look at your Google Analytics data and  create a table with the acquisition channels on the rows and in the columns you will put:

  • Sessions
  • Conversion rate
  • Average Order value

By doing so you will have a matrix with the potential revenue to be generated by each acquisition channel. You will need to have the historic data from the previous year or at least a few months in order to make a projection for the future.

In the table below you have an example. 

A simple e-commerce digital marketing budget by channel

In this example of digital marketing budget for a fashion ecommerce, you can find the acquisition channels on the left column and the relevant metrics and KPIs in the following columns.

2021 Fashion Marketing Calendar

Fashion Marketing Calendar template

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