Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing is a business-to-client relationship that does not involve a third party. It entails brands directly interacting with consumers, beginning with awareness and continuing through sales and retention.
Unlike traditional marketing, DTC marketing gives brands more control and responsibility over their customer experience and creates a more efficient customer buying journey.
This is because it helps brands collect more accurate data on conversion rates, customer retention rates, and more. But most DTC brands need help to develop an effective DTC marketing strategy for their brand.
In this article, we list the best marketing strategies for your DTC brand, along with branding examples for each strategy to help you stay on the winning end.
Let’s get started with looking at how first-party data can create a massive impact on your branding efforts.
1. Use first-party data to come up with your brand message.
Increasing concerns about privacy and regulations like GDPR have tightened the noose around third-party cookies. That means marketers can no longer rely on external sites to advertise and track customer activities across different channels.
And the best alternative to third-party data is first-party data — information you’ve collected on your audience through the different channels you own and operate.
The biggest advantage of using first-party data is that it’s much more accurate than aggregated data and helps you create a more relatable brand identity and target the right customers through personalization.
Some of the best examples of first-party data include information on the pages your users visit, the interactions they make, and the blogs they read.
You can collect first-party data in many ways. But the most common first-party data sources include website or app behavior, email and newsletter campaigns, surveys, customers, social media, and customer service and sales conversation.
After that, you can use the collected data to create a relevant brand message like the DTC brand Philip Hue did. Without first-party data, the brand couldn’t get a single view of their customer or streamline its UX.
So, the brand enlisted the help of an external agency to collect first-party data, which then helped them build and test customized landing pages and create personalized journeys at speed. This helped improve their content performance by 25% and conversions by 30%
2. Employ the services of an influencer.
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing. It includes product/service endorsements and advertisements from influencers, individuals, and organizations with a perceived level of awareness or social impact in their field.
This type of marketing is beneficial for brands because it helps boost trust and builds the brand’s authenticity. In some cases, it gives better results than celebrity endorsements and helps improve your brand value, as consumers are dubious about stars promoting products they don’t use.
Other benefits of influencer marketing include the following:
- Precise targeting: Targeting the right audience is crucial when it comes to any marketing strategy. But it’s also a challenging process as it requires a thorough understanding of customers.
However, influencer marketing enables you to bypass this step and get your brand in front of the right audience. This is because influencers have already done the work and built a very specific target audience through their content.
- Boosted audience engagement: Since influencers create audience-specific content for your brand, it’s bound to enhance content quality and give you increased exposure. The reason is that this user-centric content will find traction among your target audience and encourage them to share it on their account and tag their friends.
- Improved conversions: Your consumers are exposed to many sponsored ads daily, so they’ve grown wary of them. However, they see influencers as reliable sources of information, and you can use this to your advantage to influence purchase decisions and boost your conversion rates.
One of the best examples of DTC brands using influencer marketing is a teledentistry company called Smile Direct Club that sells aligners. The brand regularly reaches out to influencers to promote their products and incentivizes them to make a purchase through a special discount they can avail only through the influencer.
To get started with influencer marketing like Smile Direct Club, make a list of influencers whose target audience is most likely to purchase from you.
In the above post, Smile Direct Club used an influencer who posts funny reels to build brand awareness on World Smile Day. But if you take a closer look at their social media posts, you’ll see that they’ve also used health influencers to build trust.
Then, reach out to them with a freebie and an offer so you can set up your marketing campaign. You can also use platforms like Raffle to conduct a giveaway and get more consumers interested in your product.
Again, if you look at Smile Direct’s pinned posts, you’ll see that they’ve sent a free aligner kit to the influencers to build a rapport and get them to endorse their brand.
Lastly, don’t forget to look at your analytics to get insights into the areas you can improve.
3. Create an effective packaging design
The importance of packaging can’t be undermined when it comes to marketing your brand. After all, it plays an essential role in attracting a customer’s attention and influencing their purchase decision.
In fact, according to a recent Consumer Packaging Goods (CPG) study, 72% of consumers said that the packaging influences their purchase decision, and 67% of consumers said that the packaging materials used were also a deciding factor.
Your product packaging can also be used to highlight your value proposition and show consumers how you solve their pain points. Here are other benefits of creating a great package design that you must consider:
- Stand out from the competition: Whether customers are shopping for products in an online or offline store, you only have a few seconds to stand out from your competitors’ products. And the most cost-efficient way to grab attention and create a solid first impression is by focusing on your packaging.
- Create the ideal customer experience: Designing packaging that creates a great unboxing experience is beneficial for your brand as it acts as a catalyst for customers to say positive things about the product online. This, in turn, helps create user-generated content, which also boosts a brand’s credibility and authenticity.
- Increase repeat sales: Customers start recognizing your brand easily due to improved visual branding and repeat purchases increase when you’ve showcased a consistent brand identity through your packaging.
In short, great packaging means positive word-of-mouth referrals, improved brand recognition, and higher brand awareness. For instance, check out Hemp Juice’s packaging. The brand sells CBD oil, which is used to create a relaxing and calming effect on the body.
It has used pastel shades on its packaging to reflect the positive changes and the soothing effect the oil will have on its users.
If you want to create effective packaging like Hemp Juice, follow the tips given below:
- Speak the customer’s language, so they understand your products and are more likely to buy from you.
- Add thank you notes and custom void fillers like tissue papers to create an ideal unboxing experience.
- Use a different color or package shape from your competitors to differentiate your brand from the competition.
Although tips sound simple, getting your packaging from the web to shelf is complicated as there are bound to be bottlenecks in the process. This is where a creative collaboration tool like Artwork Flow comes in handy. Let’s look at the features it has and how it can help ease your brand packaging process.
4. Create a podcasting strategy.
According to Edison podcasting research, the number of podcast listeners are increasing every year — the percentage of Americans tuning into podcasts weekly grew from 11% in 2020 to 28% in 2021.
This increased interest in podcasting can be attributed to the rise of smart speakers and the convenience they provide. Unlike other mediums like video which require the user’s complete focus, podcasts can be consumed even when the user is completing chores around their house.
Plus, they help lend credibility to the brand, improve brand authority, boost top-of-the mind brand recall, and help build trust with customers, so podcasting should be an important part of your strategy especially if you’re in the DTC space.
For podcast strategy inspiration, take a look at Away, a brand that sells luggage. Instead of talking about what their product does and how it's better than other brands out there, the brand created a podcast called Airplane Mode which discussed travel. This helped change its brand perception from “just another luggage brand out there” to a brand that caters to the needs of adventurers and explorers.
And to launch a successful branded podcast on your own, make sure you start with some homework. Know who you’re doing the podcast for and check out if your competitors are doing a podcast to determine how to differentiate your podcast from others in the market.
Then, create a strategy and ensure that everything from your content to the guests you invite on the show align with your brand identity and the kind of brand experience you want to create.
Lastly, when you’re doing the podcast itself, don’t be too rigid with your content and focus on providing value to the audience.
5. Embrace virtual goods.
Since DTC brands are hyper-competitive and looking for new ways to improve brand awareness, it’s not surprising that many of them are wondering if launching virtual goods in the Metaverse is a great idea.
It’s true that the popularity of the Metaverse is growing at a rapid rate. But whether your strategy works or not depends on how much your audience is aware and accepting of the technology.
According to the 2022 DTC Hype report, only 15% of shoppers have purchased a non-fungible token (NFT) before. 46% of customers would only purchase an NFT if they better understood the technology and 35% of them will consider purchasing it if it’s from a brand they trust.
In other words, if your customers are early adopters and are curious about trying new things, launching NFTs and virtual goods will work in your favor. For instance, West Elm, a furniture store, has set up shop in the Metaverse on a game called Roblox.
In the virtual store, gamers can explore collections, play mini-games, purchase the furniture and set it up in their virtual home in the game.
If you want to create a similar experience and grow brand awareness by launching it in the Metaverse, start by understanding why people purchase NFTs or virtual goods in the first place. Most people who purchase NFTs do it to stand out from the crowd, showcase their uniqueness, and sell it at a higher value.
Then, start designing your virtual goods accordingly and create an engaging experience like West Elm did with their min-games in Roblox.
How Artwork Flow helps you with your entire creative process
As mentioned earlier, Artwork Flow is a creative collaboration tool that gets all your team members on the same page and helps your organization take their marketing creatives from web-to-shelf in the shortest time possible. Here are some of its best features:
- Workflows: Manage projects end-to-end smoothly, reduce staff working hours, and free up your team’s time so they can focus on important tasks. You can also get a bird’s eye view of the entire creative project from start to finish using a highly visual and hyper-flexible workflow builder.
- Digital Asset Management: Store, share, find, and update digital assets quickly and find the most recent version of your creatives easily with the version control feature.
- Proofreading tools: Expedite your revision process with high-speed file rendering even at 6,000% zoom and AI-powered proofing tools that spot grammatical errors and easily overlooked errors like wrong brand colors and typefaces.
- Compliance: Adhere to compliance regulations easily, eliminate recalls with checklists, and manage changes effortlessly with the creative comparison feature.
DTC marketing eliminates middlemen and enables brands to collect more accurate data that allows them to improve their conversion rates and map out their buyer journey more effectively.
Using first-party data, creating influencer campaigns, and coming up with effective packaging designs are some of the best marketing strategies brands can use to increase their customers.
Artwork Flow is a creative collaboration platform that helps your teams streamline your creative design process and move your designs from web-to-shelf in a short time. To understand how it can help your organization, sign up for a free demo today.