Building a ‘Direct-to-Consumer’ Strategy
Building a successful ‘direct-to-consumer’ (DTC) strategy is just like building your brand or company, it requires investment in capital, time, and staff to train yourself and your team on the new skills as they continue to emerge. Once your website is built and your products are available for sale online, the next big step is to build a funnel to create brand awareness, brand desire, and ultimately brand loyalty.
Quality email addresses
To build awareness with the approximately 2 billion worldwide on-line shoppers, you need to sign a Customer Data Platform (CDP) or email newsletter and marketing partner as it is more commonly known. Constant Contact was the first company to scale in this arena and was soon eclipsed by MailChimp. This spring KLAVIYO became the preferred Shopify marketing partner after a private equity raise of US$150 million. Email addresses are a vital asset and your email list must be curated with skill.
Generally, when a consumer shares their email address, they feel very comfortable with your brand and have the highest likelihood of moving to a future purchase of your products if managed properly. CDP’s allow you to segment consumers so you can customize your email marketing to fit their buying habits and tastes like never before using skill and experience. At the end of the day the more email addresses in your data base the higher the conversion rate will be which equates to higher sales.
SEO – Google rules
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is probably the most complex and least understood element of a good DTC strategy. The best place to start is an SEO Audit to determine what keywords and phrases match your brand position and fit within your available marketing budget. Keep in mind that this is one of the most highly skilled and constantly evolving jobs in the business world today. Google is constantly changing the rules of engagement to best serve what they perceive as the best and certainly the most dominant search engine in the world.
For better or worse in North America, 66% of all consumer searches tied to ‘intent to purchase’ now start on Amazon. If your product’s retail price is $500 or less, a well-managed Amazon strategy for distribution and price management is critical to success, even for your own website sales. Amazon has become the phone book, or ‘Yellow pages’, of the modern purchase path with over 100 million Prime members in the US alone.
If your products sell in the range of €1,000 – 10,000 Amazon becomes less critical as consumers in this price category generally spend considerably more time to make purchase decisions and will be less impulse oriented. The lower the suggested retail price, the greater the importance of having a strong Amazon strategy, and the higher the likelihood of the need to invest in your own Brand Store within Amazon Marketing Services (AMS).
At the moment there are emerging competitors to Amazon including Walmart, Moosejaw (owned by Walmart) and Alibaba. Alibaba is on everyone’s radar, but because of their lack of brand building, they are not yet significant to most North American consumers.
Social media domination
Social media use continues to grow as smartphone users and the time spent on devices grows. The key to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is quality of the content. It is essential that the images, words, and messaging is informative, entertaining, and professional to please current followers and build new audiences to boost brand desire on the path to purchase.
Finally, a YouTube channel is essential to showcase video tied to your brand, because it is owned by Google and is the #2 search engine worldwide. Short video snippets used to bring customers to your website from social media to YouTube or to your website are increasingly popular and effective.
Next Up Part 4: Marketing using Paid Media (paid press such as magazines) & Owned Media
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