Many years ago, most products had to go through retailers before they got to the consumer. During this period, manufacturers and consumers were at the mercy of retailers.
Consumers were only restricted to what retailers had on display. Then, the internet came on the scene.
Now, your business can cut the middle man and reach consumers directly. This strategy is called direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing.
Today, many businesses can market to their customers directly and sell products at lower costs.
DTC digital marketing differs from B2B and B2C marketing. So how can you execute DTC digital marketing effectively to achieve your goals?
Read on, and you’ll find the essential tips you need.
But before we go into the tips, what are the possible benefits you stand to gain when you implement DTC digital marketing?
Benefits of DTC digital marketing
Brands, especially smaller brands, have bought into DTC digital marketing because of the potential benefits they stand to gain.
It enables you to build affinity with customers
Before, you didn’t have a direct relationship with customers since your digital marketing efforts only drove them to retail stores. Now, you know the people buying and using your products.
As a result, you can build a closer relationship with them to improve brand affinity and margins.
A side effect of this affinity is that it becomes easier to improve brand loyalty. After all, your customer now visits your website when they need your product.
In a retail store or website, you have to constantly compete with other similar products.
It’s easier to shape a customer’s journey
The customer’s journey is a complicated process with many stages. However, with retailers in the picture, you lose control of the latter stages of the buyer’s journey.
Thanks to DTC marketing, you can design a better experience for your customers. Likewise, you can personalize your marketing messages according to users’ interests.
You have the potential to obtain more customer data
As you relate with customers more, you’ll have more information about them. This way, you’ll understand your customers’ needs and the complaints they have about your products.
Over time, the data you obtain from consumers will help you build better products. See Quill asking for ideas here:
Apart from prospects, it’s easier to turn one-time customers into repeat customers. With your data, you can upsell and cross-sell products to them based on their past purchases.
Having mentioned these benefits, here are 10 tips for executing your DTC digital marketing strategy effectively.
1. Create buyer personas for consumers
Since you now have to interact with consumers, you need to know them. Moreso, you need to define your ideal customers.
You can achieve that with a buyer persona document. A buyer persona contains as much detail as possible about your ideal customers.
Some details to have in your buyer persona include:
- • Name
- • Age
- • Gender
- • Location
- • Income
- • Job
- • Pain points
- • Ambition
- • Hobbies
- • Likes
- • Dislikes
- • Favorite social media platforms
With a buyer persona, the more details, the merrier. These details will help inform your marketing channels and strategy.
Here’s a buyer persona template from Drip:
If you search online, you’ll find even more templates you can use. Of course, you can create buyer personas for various products.
One other thing, a buyer persona is not a rigid document. You have the option to update it as you obtain more information from your customers.
2. Connect with your audience on social media
With over 4.5 billion users, your customers are likely on social media. Therefore, it’s pertinent to reach them on various social media platforms.
Luckily, social media serves many functions for your business. First, you can build trust and authority with your audience.
This includes posting valuable information about your products, industry, and business. These pieces of information will help your audience solve problems and build more affinity with your brand.
Of course, content types will differ according to the social media platform you’re using. Furthermore, you don’t need to be active on all social media networks.
Instead, you just need to focus on platforms where you’re likely to reach your ideal audience.
While publishing content is good, you should also involve your audience. This is where user-generated content comes in.
You can create dedicated hashtags followers can use in posts that feature your products. This will usually showcase the benefits they’re deriving from your products.
For example: GoPro usually repost shots by their camera when users add the hashtag #GoPro.
One benefit of user-generated content is that it provokes more trust than your branded messages. For instance, when GoPro’s audience sees a beautiful image from a camera user, it impresses them more than if the company had taken the picture.
Apart from user-generated content, you can run contests and giveaways. This will increase your exposure as users may need to follow and share your posts to enter the giveaway.
Another advantage is that you’ll increase engagement on your social media pages. Check out this giveaway from Posca USA:
If you want faster results on social media, you can opt for social media ads. These ads allow you to target users who are likely to sign up for your email lists or purchase products.
And with Instagram Checkout ads, followers can buy products without leaving the social media app.
No matter the product you sell, you’ll need to market them to your social media audience.
3. Explore influencer marketing
Let’s be frank, you need to sometimes, as Isaac Newton said, stand on the shoulders of giants. These giants are influencers.
Over the years, some people have built reputations in industries. As a result of their expertise or popularity, their followers trust their recommendations.
Therefore, when they mention or use products, their audience is likely to buy them. As a business, you can leverage this influence.
However, not every influencer will work for your business. You have to find those whose audience is your ideal customers. You can use a tool like HYPR to find influencers that fit your business.
Since influencers with millions of followers can be expensive, micro-influencers can offer the best value for money. Though micro-influencers have followers in thousands, they have a closer relationship with their followers.
Also, they boast of better engagement. According to Socialbakers, micro-influencer accounts boast of up to a 60% increase in engagement rates compared to macro-influencers.
Influencer marketing was one of the main strategies Gymshark exploited to go from a business in the basement to $500 million. Likewise, Daniel Wellington exploited influencer marketing to promote its wristwatches and build a $200 million business.
With influencer marketing, you can get your product to become reputable by extension when influencers use or promote them.
4. Promote your products through paid search
Every day, your potential customers use Google and other search engines. Sometimes, the keywords they use show they need your product.
By implementing paid search, you can have your page at the top of the search results to increase conversions. However, to execute paid search effectively, you have to conduct keyword research to find valuable and profitable keywords.
The keywords you target in your paid search campaigns will depend on your goals. For instance, target keywords for acquiring leads will differ from keywords to sell products.
Google shopping ads to feature the picture and information of your product at the top of the results have proven to be a great way to reach your consumers directly using the largest search engine in the world.
5. Implement an SEO strategy on your website
While paid search can give you fast results, your campaign is done once you exhaust your budget.
On the other hand, SEO takes time to achieve high rankings. But once you achieve these rankings, you can continue acquiring traffic for years.
In a nutshell, you need to do SEO along with your paid search. What are some vital tasks to obtain results from your SEO efforts?
Keyword research: How do you know the keywords to target? You need to use tools to discover valuable keywords for your business.
Some keyword metrics you need to consider are keyword volume and keyword competition. Some popular keyword research tools are SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, Ubersuggest, etc.
Moreso, you should check the top-ranking pages to see how you can improve upon them.
Create valuable and detailed content
If you want to rank high for valuable keywords, there’s no shortcut. You have to create pieces of content that can solve your visitor’s problems.
What’s the searcher’s intent for your target keyword? Your content has to meet the intent.
Optimize your page for your target keyword
To help search bots identify your page topic, you should have your target keyword in different parts of the page. For example, some parts of your page to have the keyword include the URL, headline, introduction, subheadings, etc.
Here’s an example from Brian Dean:
Building backlinks is probably the most important off-page SEO technique. When a web page links to your page, they’re voting for it.
Of course, some backlinks are more valuable than others. For instance, a backlink from a high authority website in your niche may be worth more than 5 backlinks from low-quality websites.
Another critical factor is the anchor texts of your backlinks. Anchor texts that are related to your page topic work best.
With a winning SEO strategy, you can attract prospects to your website at different stages of the sales funnel.
6. Build personalized email campaigns
According to Litmus, email marketing boasts of an ROI of $36 on every dollar spent. However, you can’t achieve this result by sending blast emails to all your subscribers.
Today, personalization is a critical part of email marketing. After all, subscribers get on your list for different reasons.
Hence, you should send different marketing messages to different groups of subscribers. You can segment your list based on their source or the actions they take in your emails and your website.
Beyond that, you can create automated email sequences. These sequences are triggered by specific actions from a subscriber.
Here’s an automated email sequence created with ActiveCampaign:
Apart from ActiveCampaign, other email marketing tools include GetResponse, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Drip, and more. Running personalized email campaigns makes it easier to send relevant product offers to the right prospects.
7. Run retargeting ads
All things being equal, a user who knows your brand will be more receptive to your ad compared to someone who has never heard of you. That’s why retargeting visitors who leave your website without converting can be effective.
For instance, a WordStream study found that remarketing ads boast of 2 - 3X higher conversion rates and click-through rates than typical display ads.
No matter how great your website may be, some visitors will leave without converting. This may be for many reasons, and sometimes, none of your fault.
Nevertheless, you should create ads to try to convert them. Fortunately, most advertising platforms allow you to create retargeting ads.
Apart from prospects, you can also use retargeting ads for your current customers. This is useful for upselling or cross-selling products to customers according to their past purchases.
8. Engage in social causes
In the world, many situations are far from ideal. Many people have found themselves in bad places.
These are none of their faults. Regardless, they have little power to change those situations.
There are many social causes that your business can invest in to make a real change in the world. Beyond that, these causes can put you on the good side of your customers.
For instance, a Scalefast study found that 25% of beauty consumers would be willing to try a new beauty brand if they knew it was sustainable.
Some common causes you can engage in include:
- • Helping war victims
- • Providing food for the hungry
- • Providing basic amenities
- • Reducing carbon footprint
For instance, Warby Parker has the “buy a pair, give a pair” initiative, which provides glasses to people who need glasses around the world but can’t afford it.
To prevent global warming and make the world a better place to live, people want to reduce their carbon footprint. Some brands have committed to this cause by making their manufacturing process as green as possible.
Here’s an example by Everlane:
These causes help to show that you’re concerned about making important changes in the world. To many of your customers, this is corporate responsibility.
9. Create customer loyalty programs
Since a 5% increase in customer retention can produce more than a 25% increase in profits, it makes more sense to retain customers and turn them into repeat customers.
One way to retain them is to create customer loyalty programs. Some common strategies for customer loyalty programs include:
- • Point-based loyalty
- • Tiered loyalty
- • Paid loyalty
- • Value loyalty
Here’s an example from Tarte:
The cosmetics company runs a point-based loyalty program that rewards users every time they shop or engage with the brand. Customer loyalty can make the shopping experience fun and convince customers to buy more products.
10. Track your DTC digital marketing results
If you’re running DTC digital marketing campaigns, you need to know how effective your strategy is. To do this, you need to track important metrics for your campaigns.
Of course, metrics to track will differ according to your campaign goals. For instance, you can create campaigns for brand awareness, customer acquisition, sales, lead acquisition, and more.
Some vital metrics to track include:
- • Conversion rates
- • Average order value
- • Customer acquisition costs
- • Churn rate
- • Monthly recurring revenue
- • The number of leads acquired
- • The number of customers acquired
- • The number of products sold
Since you’ll be running campaigns on many marketing platforms, getting all the metrics can be an issue. One way to eliminate this problem is to use marketing dashboard software.
With marketing dashboard software, you can track all your campaign metrics in one place and determine your DTC marketing ROI.
Over the years, DTC digital marketing has grown popular. And it’s not slowing down.
Brands are now taking charge of how they deliver their products to customers rather than leaving it in the hands of retailers. So while DTC marketing is not radically different from B2B and B2C marketing, it requires a different mindset and approach.
Follow these 10 tips, and you’ll increase the chances of improving your DTC digital marketing efforts. What’s your favorite tip? Tell us in the comments!