Over the past decade, the world has seen a rise in the number of direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies being built. Brands like Gymshark and FashionNova have built billion-dollar empires on top of the D2C sales model, and they’ve also pioneered some of the best D2C marketing strategies we’ve seen.
Before we dive into marketing strategies for D2C, you must understand what D2C means and the importance of marketing for D2C companies.
What is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Marketing?
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing is a strategy in which a company markets and sells its products directly to the consumer without the help of a middleman. There is no third party involved in distributing the product to the end customer, instead, the company will handle marketing and fulfill all orders themself typically through a website.
This differs from traditional sales models where a company might handle marketing, but products are sold through retail stores like Walmart or Macy’s. As you can imagine, the D2C model is quite appealing for businesses that are looking to maximize profits by cutting out the middleman.
In fact, D2C sales are set to rise to nearly 44.7 US billion dollars by 2023. This blog post will discuss some of the best D2C marketing strategies you can use to reach more customers and increase sales!
9 Best Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Marketing Strategies
1. Build Social Proof with Influencers
As a D2C brand, you need to be really good at creating social proof and buzz around your products; influencers are one of the best ways to do this. There are several ways to partner with influencers to generate social proof which makes this a very versatile marketing strategy as well. Perhaps the most obvious method of working with influencers is paying them to endorse your product on their social media channels.
Gymshark was able to build a billion-dollar D2C empire by doing just this. The company worked with Instagram influencers to build social proof for their brand, and this strategy turned out to be amazingly effective. These days many brands are opting to work with TikTok influencers due to the fact that the platform is still in its infancy and yields more opportunities.
While traditional methods of influencer marketing such as buying TikTok shoutouts might seem like the go-to strategy when it comes to working with influencers, it’s important to realize there are dozens of other use-cases when it comes to leveraging influencers for your D2C brand.
For example, one great use-case for influencers is to pay influencers for user-generated content, such as testimonials videos, product photos, unboxings, or even content for your Facebook ads.
Regardless of your approach, partnering with influencers can greatly add some social proof to your DTC marketing strategy. By having a real person show off your products, you provide a sense of comfort to potential customers that may be on the fence about buying your product or service. Align yourself with popular and trusted voices in your industry and you can help boost your credibility and reach your target market.
2. Personalize Interactions with Customers
There are many marketing tools that you can use to boost your customer engagement and conversion rates. One great way to increase customer engagement for your D2C brand is by personalizing your interactions with your customers, and you can achieve this by leveraging an experience management tool like Qualtrics, there are also plenty of lists with the best Qualtrics alternatives if you’re looking for something else.
Experience management tools allow you to segment your audience so that you can personalize their experience and communication depending on where they may be in the buyer's journey. As you can imagine, this does an excellent job of keeping customers engaged as the experience is being catered to them specifically.
This is an important direct-to-consumer marketing strategy that allows you to create a connection with your customers and build loyalty. Think about how many times a day you receive emails and SMS notifications from companies that have your contact information. Almost all communication is disregarded as spam, but when something does catch our eye it’s most likely because it has been personalized.
Humans have the need to feel important, and by personalizing your communication with your customers and potential customers, you make them feel important. This ultimately leads to higher conversion rates and builds customer loyalty.
3. Survey Your Customers
To create relevant and engaging D2C marketing campaigns, direct-to-consumer companies need to understand their customers deeply. This means developing personas, understanding customer needs and desires, and targeting the right channels to reach them.
After all, if you don't understand who your target audience is, you won't be able to sell them anything! You need to ask yourself important questions like who are your customers and what do they want and need? What are their pain points?
To better understand your customers you can leverage survey tools to get honest feedback. There are plenty of affordable survey tools such as SurveyMonkey, Mailchimp, or Google forms which are completely free.
Survey tools help you understand your customer needs by asking questions that relate to:
Budget: It is essential to know what your customers perceive as an affordable price. Have a price that aligns with your potential client's budget.
User experience: Customers should have an easy and fun experience when using your products.
Pain point: Understand the pain point that you are solving so that you can better optimize your landing pages and marketing strategy to convey this message.
You need to have a good understanding of these things before you can start developing a direct-to-consumer marketing strategy. By understanding your customers better, you can make the necessary changes to keep them happy and coming back for more. So if you're serious about improving your business, make sure to make survey tools a part of your process.
4. Add Upsells to Checkout
Upsells are additional products or services you offer your customers during the checkout process. They are a great way to boost sales and increase your average order value (AOV). For example, if you sell card games, you could offer an upsell on one of the expansion packs. Or, if you sell books, you could offer an upsell on a book light.
Upsells increase your average order size, which benefits your bottom line. Finally, upselling helps build customer loyalty by showing your customers you care about their needs and wants.
Use various tools to upsell at card checkout. A good example is the ReConvert tool. This tool provides robust features besides upsells like custom messaging, discount pop-ups, and birthday SMS.
By offering quality upsells at the checkout, give your customers the best possible experience and improve your bottom line.
5. Leverage TikTok
TikTok has become an essential tool for D2C businesses as it offers the potential to get in front of more eyeballs than any other platform out there. With over 800 million active users, TikTok provides businesses with a massive potential customer base and a ton of free impressions.
One appealing thing about TikTok for D2C brands is that you can get your product out there simply by creating content, rather than running ads. This helps to improve your profit margins since you’re pulling in sales via organic content rather than paid content.
In addition, the platform's algorithm ensures that TikTok users are more likely to see content from brands they are already interested in. As a result, businesses that leverage TikTok can reach many potential customers with minimal effort. TikTok provides D2C businesses with a distinct advantage in today's highly competitive marketplace.
If you’re having trouble getting in front of your target audience, consider partnering with other content creators in your niche so that you can get in front of their audience. For example, if you’re a company in the Crypto or NFT space, consider collaborating with crypto influencers or NFT influencers in order to get exposure to their community.
6. Leverage SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an often overlooked strategy when it comes to direct-to-consumer marketing strategies. One of the reasons for this is because SEO is not something that starts working overnight, it can take months for you to see the results of your SEO efforts.
That said, once you begin getting traffic from ranking on Google, you’ll be hooked. Traffic from Google is passive and comes at little to no cost, depending on if you are paying people to produce the content that is driving your traffic.
When done correctly, SEO can be a highly effective and efficient way to drive organic traffic and generate leads. You can typically leverage SEO by creating dynamic product landing pages and writing blog content to position your brand as a thought leader in the industry.
7. Build a strong community around your brand
In today's marketing landscape, a strong community is one of your most valuable assets. By building a community around your brand, you can create passionate advocates who will help spread the word about your product or service. when it comes to direct-to-consumer marketing, this word-of-mouth can be invaluable.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when building a brand community. First, focus on creating a space where people can interact and connect with each other. This could be an online forum, social media group, or in-person meetup. Second, make sure you are regularly engaging with your community members.
Don't just post and run - take the time to respond to comments and questions, and create content that will spark discussion. Finally, always be working to grow your community. Invite new members in, and find ways to keep existing members engaged.
By following these tips, you can build a strong community around your brand that will help boost your direct-to-consumer marketing strategy. A good community will also act as a support system, providing valuable feedback and helping to spread the word about your products or services.
Marketing is Crucial for D2C Success
While marketing is crucial for just about any business model, it’s especially crucial for D2C businesses since you’re not reliant on retailers to push your product to consumers.
Keeping this in mind, it’s important to go through the listed marketing methods and choose 1-3 D2C marketing methods that seem like they would be a good fit for your brand. Begin with experimenting and scale the marketing strategies that show a positive ROI.
Not every D2C marketing strategy will be a success, but it’s important to double down on the ones that are!