Direct to consumer marketing is when a business markets its products directly to its customers; skipping any wholesalers, third parties, and/or middlemen. They most often use social media platforms and podcasts as marketing tools as opposed to billboards, radio ads, newspapers, etc. When you utilize direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing, you get to control your consumer’s entire shopping experience. DTC marketing allows for personalization which is something most customers are looking for in their buying experience, and it’s easy to track the analytic data tied in with your DTC marketing so you can see if your time and money are actually paying off.
Keep in mind that you can market DTC and sell through other channels like Amazon, so it’s a no-brainer that now is the time to start testing this marketing strategy to see what works best for your business. Below outlines four ways that DTC can help promote your business regardless of industry and how to find success:
Develop a subscription plan for your consumers
If you’re diving into DTC marketing, the way you market will change. Now, instead of focusing on Amazon SEO or connecting with B2B companies, you need creative ways to market to your consumers directly (of course) — consumers love when a brand is able to tailor to them as an individual and make their buying experience one of a kind. Creating a subscription plan not only gives you more marketing content, but it also creates a relationship with your customers.
For example, if your eCommerce business has more than one product, you could create a box program. With the box program, your consumers take a test that generates a box of products specifically tailored to them and their likes/needs. You can also send boxes to influencers and ask them to record and photograph their unboxing experience, which in turn creates user-generated content.
And lastly, you can send out specials for your box program through an email list, which will both promote your subscription service as well as grow your email list. You can even add in special items for those who have been consistent customers and/or offer special pricing for new customers, again, making each customer’s experience unique to them.
Memes are a great marketing technique because people love them, and it’s easy for them to be shared and go viral online. There are countless social media pages solely dedicated to memes that have over a million+ followers. Using memes in your marketing is a sure way to get engagement from your followers and consumers because it uses humor in your marketing, which has been proven to develop more trust from the customer.
One good thing about memes is you can tailor them to fit your business with ease. People use sports, fashion shows, celebrity events, and more to get meme content – you could even use a personal photo to create a meme. Using large celebrity event memes will likely generate more engagement than a personal one, but there have been many instances where personal memes have gone viral. Nonetheless, memes are a sure-fire marketing tool for any eCommerce business.
Also, most memes are eternal, meaning that even though they might be 10+ years old, people still find them relevant.
Create a podcast
Statista completed a survey to find out how many people will listen to podcasts in 2021. They learned that 57% of Americans listen to podcasts, a number that jumped up 2% from 2020. This data tells us that podcasts are becoming more popular and are something that consumers are listening to and impacting purchasing decisions.
Podcasts are a great way to personalize your business (check out our podcast with Gary Vaynerchuk here!). With a podcast, you can talk about things that you might not want to address on your normal social media pages, while also giving you content to use on social media. Most podcasts last 15 minutes to an hour – the only thing that really matters with a podcast is keeping your audience’s attention for the length of your episode. Your business could talk about how it got started, share funny stories from when you were starting up, feature customers as guests, bring in experts from your industry or industry professionals, etc. Pretty much anything goes with a podcast, as long as it’s relevant and engaging.
One of the hardest things about producing a podcast is the editing process. Thankfully. there are tons of companies that offer podcast editing software. You can also hire freelance professionals to help with the editing process. If you are interested in starting a podcast but aren’t sure where to start, check out Buzzsprout for free help or check out our own podcast as an example here.
Utilize User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-Generated Content is among the easiest and most inexpensive marketing techniques you can use for your eCommerce business. Your customers are producing the content for you, so it takes very little time, money, and effort on behalf of the business owner. Another good thing about UGC is that it allows potential new consumers to see your product in use by real people, which in turn makes your product seem more credible and your brand more trustworthy. If you are a new company that does not have a lot of UGC, you can run giveaways where people have to post photos with your product to be entered. You can also send out your products for free to influencers and ask them to post content in return. Learn more about UGC and content marketing here.
Start or join a community
People love to talk about things they like and are passionate about, and thanks to the creation of Facebook Groups, Discord, Slack, and Instagram, people are always creating groups to communicate with others who share similar interests, values, and ideas. When you start your own group, it not only opens up the door for new content, it allows you to chat one on one with consumers. This helps to open up a dialogue between the business owners and consumers and helps entrepreneurs to learn whether or not their customers are happy with their products or if there is room for improvement. If your business is lacking in some aspect, having a group will likely bring it to the forefront because more than one person is going to be able to share the same experience. While potentially daunting, ultimately this should be a positive learning experience for your brand.
Within a community or group, you can ask your followers to share any photos they have of them using your products. You can also ask them to create user-generated content that you can then share on your website and social media, and you can ask them what new products they want to see. You can create a different relationship with your clients and get their ideas and opinions about your business, all of which can be used to improve your business.
In short, direct-to-consumer marketing is a great tool for online business owners – it can be relatively easy and inexpensive (see UGC) and it helps your brand to build a personal connection with its customers, something that can sometimes be lacking online. Once you start incorporating DTC marketing into your advertising strategy, always make sure to check your analytics frequently so you can see what is paying off and what isn’t. In the long run, we believe you’ll find it was a good move for your eCommerce business!