With a sound direct to consumer (D2C) marketing strategy you can build a solid online presence, foster strong customer relationships and even build a brand following. Sounds pretty great right?
Many big brand names have already taken the leap to D2C marketing and this is expected to grow even more in 2021 and beyond. But, although the barriers to entry are quite low for startup D2C brands, keep in mind that you will be competing with retail giants who have already established a massive customer following.
This leads us to the importance of a sound ecommerce marketing strategy for your D2C business. Let’s take a look at four D2C strategies you can implement today to grow a brand your customers will love.
D2C Strategy #1: Lead Generation (and Lead Nurturing)
Inbound marketing techniques such as lead generation and lead nurturing are excellent for generating new prospects and sales. Direct to consumer brands can leverage this to consistently build their customer base and, in turn, increase sales and customer retention.
Lead generation refers to the process of attracting and converting visitors into leads - someone who has shown an interest in your business’ product or service. You can use many different lead generation tactics, like a blog post, a job application, online content, or even a live event to get prospects engaged with your brand.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of your sales funnel. It focuses your communication and marketing efforts on listening to the needs of your prospects and providing the information they need to trust your brand until they are ready to make a purchase.
Lead generation is very important, but lead nurturing is a crucial element to turning leads into customers for your eCommerce shop.
There are a few critical elements that any sound lead generation and lead nurturing marketing strategy should include:
- A great offer
This is an important starting point as a great offer will help attract as many potential leads as possible. An offer can be a discount, a free sign-up bonus, a downloadable asset, etc. Something of value that will benefit potential leads.
- A low-friction signup form
Make the signup process as easy and straightforward as possible. A low-friction signup form will make it quick and easy for someone to sign up, as opposed to a long or complicated signup form that requests too much information.
- A follow-up plan after the signup
Once your lead expresses interest, your work is not done! Be sure to have a plan in place for leads after signup - like an additional offer or an exclusive discount.
Experiment For Best Results
Now that you have an idea of how you can use lead generation and lead nurturing for your eCommerce shop, you might be looking for a few tips for how to maximize ROI. That's where experimentation comes in.
A great example of an experiment to try is one from ella+milla, an eco-friendly beauty company that creates high-quality products without toxic chemicals.
Image credit: Justuno
D2C Strategy #2: Email Marketing
As part of your D2C eCommerce marketing strategy, get all your channels involved - especially email.
You can implement an email nurturing sequence to build a relationship with your customers at every stage and nurture contacts toward a buying decision. Email marketing can be a very powerful tool if implemented correctly. That’s why you should focus on the critical elements that will make your email marketing campaign successful, such as:
- A clean and up-to-date marketing list
Having incorrect email addresses and outdated information will lead to higher bounce rates, unsubscribe requests, and missed opportunities. A clean email list will ensure that your marketing campaign is more targeted, reach the intended recipients, and reduce the number of undelivered emails.
- A lot of data on your contacts
The more information you have on your contacts or leads, the better you can customize your message and send targeted emails with information your recipients can benefit from. Collecting and organizing data on your contacts is a great way to ensure that your email campaign remains relevant.
- Great visuals and design elements
A great design that is visually appealing will always attract more attention. Be sure to design an email that will attract attention and entice recipients to read more, while reinforcing your brand.
Image credit: Really Good Emails
If you don’t have design skills, you can use a tool like Canva to create beautiful emails from a variety of pre-built templates. If you don’t want to do the design yourself, you can hire a designer to help you create emails for your D2C email marketing campaigns.
Keep contact consistent and regular
Sharing interesting information, product updates, or the latest marketing trends is a great way to maintain contact and keep your brand in front of your customers.
Here are a few ways in which you can improve your email marketing efforts:
- Send out a monthly newsletter
- Send a post-purchase up-sell or cross-sell email
- Create a promotional discount campaign
These are just a few ideas that can help you keep consistent contact with your email list and also nurture leads and prospects in every stage of your sales funnel.
D2C Strategy #3: Branded Content and Influencer Marketing
Investing in branded content is extremely important for consumer brands. When people are buying online, they cannot physically touch the product, so marketers need to find other ways to ensure the consumer trusts the brand and feel comfortable making the buying decision.
Influencer marketing is another aspect of a successful D2C marketing strategy and it can be used to build your brand. It is estimated that influencer marketing is set to reach $24 billion in market size by 2024.
In order for any branded content strategy to be effective, there are a few crucial elements:
- Select the right influencers and partners to work with
- Have an outreach plan in place for getting in touch with these businesses or people
- Grow your business so that people want to work with you
A great example of successful influencer marketing strategy comes from Old Navy's partnership with New York Yankee retiree Alex Rodriguez. The campaign aimed to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) and it paid off - raising more than $1 million during sales on Black Friday alone.
Image credit: Agility PR
Go for the micro or nano influencer
While you don't need to go after huge influencers like A-rod, implementing an influencer strategy is certainly going to help boost your credibility as a brand. By starting with micro or nano influencers who have smaller, yet highly relevant followings, you can keep your budget smaller too as you grow your brand reach.
If you are looking to achieve success with branded marketing and influencer marketing, be sure to invest in good photography to represent your brand well. Influencers will want to work with you if it looks like you have the aesthetic appeal to make them look good right back.
Bonus tip? Combine your influencer strategy with user-generated content for the ultimate credibility boost.
D2C Strategy #4: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you are a direct-to-consumer brand, you have to invest in a solid SEO strategy. It’s like planting a seed for what will later reap long-term, sustainable reward.
Most D2C brands that are just starting out often want immediate results. But SEO isn’t the type of play that delivers that immediate ROI. This is a long-term, long-haul plan that will help you find scalable growth, but it takes time and it’s an investment. There are critical elements any SEO strategy should include, especially if you want to ensure that your strategy conforms to the latest best SEO practices. Here are our top suggestions:
- Conduct keyword research
This is one of the fundamental aspects of any successful SEO campaign. And don’t stick to just a few main keywords - expand your keyword research to include semantic phrases and use them to create your topic clusters. These clusters will help support your ongoing content and marketing strategy.
- Prioritize product pages
When optimizing your eCommerce business for SEO, prioritize your product pages. These are among the most important pages you want potential customers to reach, to drive sales and conversions. When implementing a D2C strategy, you need to ensure that your product pages speak directly to your customers and are optimized so they can achieve the best visibility possible.
- Internal linking and clusters
Search engines have changed their algorithm to favor topic clusters and this should be part of your SEO and content creation strategy.
- Start blogging
- Invest in an SEO tool
- Optimize the easy stuff
Things like H1s, meta descriptions, and optimizing image ALT tags are quick and easy wins for SEO and should be at the top of your list.
D2C Marketing is an Investment Worth Making
When it comes to attracting and retaining the clients you want for your direct to consumer business, having a strong D2C strategy in place can make all the difference.
From lead generation and lead nurturing, to email marketing, influencer strategies and SEO, there's so much you can do to boost your brand, reach your prospects, and build a loyal customer base. With that said, each of these concepts are all great in theory, actually implementing them is where things can get tricky.
That's where talking to a D2C marketing expert can come in handy. At Campaign Creators, we're pros at all things eCommerce marketing and we'd love to help out. Get in touch with us today!
Or, if you're feeling like you want to dig down a little further into research, why not check out our in-depth guide to ECommerce Lead Generation for now (we promise you'll learn something new).