Who Does Inbound Better?
Betabrand is a custom online clothing community, headquartered in San Francisco. Betabrand allows users to vote on clothing designs, which will then be turned into prototypes that they are able to crowdfund into production. The users are not only the designers, but also the models for Betabrand also. Users can submit pictures of themselves with the Betabrand logo or wearing any Betabrand clothes to be featured on the Model Citizen Wall of Fame and receive discounts.
Betabrand’s website is centered on simplicity, which has both strengths and weaknesses. The product pages are beautifully simple, with large high quality product images featuring social sharing, product description, and story behind the product. The weakness in this website’s design is site navigation, which is included at the bottom of the page and a slide-out sidebar. The sidebar navigation can interfere with the content on the screen and doesn’t include the complete site map. However, this issue is very minor and does little to damage the overall site experience.
Betabrand’s Facebook page is one of their primary outlets for showcasing new products on social media. But they do a great job of mixing up the posts on Facebook to avoid coming off as “spammy” or too “salesy.” Betabrand attracts a lot of audience engagement with photo contests, caption contests, and photos of Betabrand fans.
Betabrand’s Twitter strategy is absolutely great and it reflects their business model. The overwhelming majority of their tweets are directly engaging individual members of their audience, only occasionally promoting their products. This strategy is effective because unlike many brands that talk at their audience, Betabrand is engaging and speaking to its followers. And that really is what social media is supposed to be for to begin with.
This is a platform that Betabrand can really grow their presence on, and part of that will just take time. Betabrand has a relatively low number of pins and followers and would benefit from ramping up posting. A contributing factor to the lower presence on Pinterest could be because there is not a link on Betabrand’s website to their Pinterest page.
Betabrand has some really original and entertaining videos on their YouTube channel. They describe their YouTube channel as “A glimpse into the magic of Betabrand. These are the humorous & adventurous stories of our clothing, as told by the people who wear it.” The only issue with their YouTube channel is that the videos aren’t shared much on Betabrand’s other platforms, which would help build a larger subscriber base.
Modcloth is an online retail shop for a wide range of indie, vintage, and retro products. Targeted primarily to women, Modcloth offers clothing, accessories, and home décor. Modcloth also places control in their audience’s hands by allowing them to vote on which products are sold on the site.
ModCloth’s website is designed similarly to many other online shopping sites in terms of navigation and layout. People are familiar with using sites set up this way; so new visitors will have very little trouble getting around. The site is also full of links to ModCloth’s social media accounts and opportunities to share their products on social networks.
ModCloth has a powerful Facebook presence with over a million likes. They primarily post pictures of and links to their products, however their messages aren’t obviously pitching sales. The messages included with these posts are more detailed descriptions of the product, and why people would enjoy them. For the most part, prices, discounts, and commanding language is generously left out.
Modcloth’s Twitter presence doesn’t quite match that of their Facebook, with an audience about 90% smaller. This could be due to where their audience spends most of their time on social networks, which appears to be Facebook and Pinterest. However, their Twitter strategy could still be improved as they are lacking much engagement and direct conversation with their audience.
ModCloth is an absolute Pinterest juggernaut, with well over 2 million followers. The majority of ModCloth’s customer base is already on Pinterest and their vintage and indie products make for content perfect for Pinterest. They pick up pins from many different blogs and DIY websites.
While ModCloth’s subscriber base on YouTube is much smaller than on other social platforms, some of their video content performs extraordinarily well. The how-to videos featured on their channel rack up views in the tens of thousands. This type of content performs so well because it provides great value to their customers who purchase DIY products.
Betabrand has taken what could be considered a “holistic” approach to their inbound marketing by being very open and engaging with their audience. Their overall strategy is about sharing an experience and building brands with their customers.
ModCloth’s strategic success comes from knowing their audience very well and understanding how and where their audience consumes content. Where they have excelled is aligning their products and website with the personality of their audience, which has created a very devoted fan base.
On some level, comparing Betabrand to ModCloth is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are similar in ideology, but each have different target audiences and are in different stages of development. I wouldn’t declare Betabrand or ModCloth as winner over the other in this comparison, but will commend both on their use of inbound marketing strategies. The one thing I know for sure from all of this is that I want a pair of Betabrand Gray Dress Pant Sweatpants.