Direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing is not a new concept. Whenever you visit a weekend market and buy fresh produce from the farmer, you are putting D2C into action. Unlike business-to-consumer (B2C), D2C does not involve retailers. Instead, all the transactions take place between the producer and the buyer.
In recent years, D2C has seen a general upward trend. Thanks to online shopping, businesses can reach consumers directly and are less reliant on retailers to distribute their goods. This direct line to consumers gives businesses more control over their marketing strategies. It also lets sellers add a more personal touch to their customer touchpoints.
The following article reviews five proven direct-to-consumer marketing strategies. Read on to gain valuable marketing insights you can apply to your business.
Tap into influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has grown from $1.7 billion to $13.8 billion in 2021. It’s an effective sales and marketing channel that works for businesses of all sizes, allowing you to leverage influencers’ relationships with their followers to connect with your target audience.
There are many examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns. Take this campaign between the YouTube stylist Chloe Wen and jewelry brand Mejuri as an example.
Chloe Wen is known for videos where she teaches people how to “stack” their jewelry. With over 118K subscribers, Chloe has an extensive reach, and her engagement with Mejuri has resulted in increased exposure for the brand. But how do Chloe and Mejuri know that their influencer campaigns are successful?
The building blocks of a successful influencer marketing campaign are straightforward:
- Set realistic campaign goals. You can use the SMART framework to create targets.
- Set criteria to help you select what influencers to work with. For example, the average number of YouTube video views. Allocate a budget for your campaign too.
- Select suitable influencers for your campaign. Reach out to them and make your pitch.
- Share your goals. Let them know what you want to achieve, and trust them to come up with engaging content.
- Track the campaign results. You can develop long-term partnerships with the best-performing influencers.
Influencer marketing allows you to work with creatives that understand how to engage with your target audience. Your sales and marketing teams will also gain valuable customer insights from these partnerships.
Personalize the customer experience
Imagine you work in a clothes store. A customer walks up to you and says, “I’m looking for some trousers. What would you recommend?”
Without thinking about it, you’d look at the person and consider their needs. Different people have different preferences. For instance, one person might prefer a slim fit, while another might lean towards a baggier fit. Similarly, your D2C store should allow customers to personalize their products. The good news: D2C store owners have more freedom to provide personalized offerings because they have more control over their stores.
For example, American Cocktail Club offers two subscription box options: one with alcoholic beverages, and another with non-alcoholic options. When a customer selects the first option, they can receive marketing information about sales of wine, beer, and spirits, while selecting the second option will trigger email campaigns focusing on mocktails and similar drinks:
Your customer journey map should always account for list segmentation. This involves identifying key data points you can use to split leads into different groups and then finding ways to collect that information. Segmenting our audience allows us to provide more relevant information to prospects and a better customer experience. The long-term benefit for your company is higher conversions.
Set aside time to segment your audience, it’s worth the investment.
Build a strong brand identity
Businesses of all types need a strong brand identity. For D2C businesses, the need for solid branding is even more important because customers will identify the brand with the items it produces, and vice-versa. If you have a strong brand identity, it will be easier to convince new customers that you have a high standard of product and service quality.
Chewy.com is a great example of a D2C business with a strong brand identity. The brand is built around the values of speed, convenience, and low cost. As a result, all of its marketing collateral – from its website to its online ads – tend to emphasize these three advantages.
Chewy.com’s ads feature its simple yet catchy logo and packaging, emphasizing its no-frills aesthetic. The ads also give pets a voice, emphasizing how much both pets and humans love the convenience of its service.
Creating a strong brand is something that the whole company needs to be involved with. Your sales and marketing efforts are critical, especially when communicating your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Highlight user-generated content
When you provide a great product and services, you’ll find customers posting good feedback about your company. This User-Generated Content (UGC) is some of the best sales and marketing material you can gather throughout each stage of the customer journey. There are various ways to obtain this type of content. Many fashion companies, for example, run campaigns based around a branded hashtag on Instagram or TikTok.
For instance, Outdoor Voices encourages its customers to post content with the hashtag #doingthings. This hashtag is easy to remember and incorporate into content captions. With close to 230,000 posts, the hashtag has succeeded in generating exposure – both for the brand and the content creators who serve as its customers.
The people who create UGC are often brand advocates. They love your company and are probably your best customers.
You can get brand advocates involved in your D2C marketing efforts. Brand advocates can make great affiliates, some might be niche influencers, and they are a great source of testimonials.
Gather and utilize customer data
One great benefit of D2C businesses is that you own your customer data. So, you should make use of these data to make better decisions. Imagine that you have to decide where to invest your marketing budget for the next quarter. You have one of the following pieces of information:
- Instagram generates 90% of your referral traffic.
- LinkedIn generates 10% of your referring traffic, but 90% of your highest value customers.
The data you have together with your marketing goals will impact your decisions. In the first instance, you might double down on Instagram, believing that a focus on this channel will help you reach more customers and boost brand awareness. If you look want to focus on getting big clients, you would probably choose Linkedin over Instagram.
Harness the power of email marketing
Despite the rise of social media as a D2C marketing tool, traditional channels like emails shouldn’t be overlooked. Because your email marketing campaign starts with a subscription to your brand’s mailing list, they are very effective in targeting people who have already expressed interest in your products.
Athletic Brewing Co. produces and distributes non-alcoholic beer, which allows it to fill a distinct niche. The marketing email above gives the customer the first glance at one of its new products. Through email marketing, Athletic Brewing Co. builds customer loyalty and increases its products’ market exposure.
D2C marketing strategies are constantly evolving. This guide emphasizes the importance of strategies like running influencer marketing campaigns, personalizing the customer experience, creating a strong brand identity, and utilizing UGC.
Pick the D2C marketing strategies that best fit your needs. Track the results of your efforts, and double down on those that provide the best return on investment.