3 tips to nail your D2C marketing strategy
The D2C (direct-to-consumer) business model has been on the rise, as traditional B2B brands seek to cut out the ‘middle-man’. As businesses come under increasing pressure to manage operating costs, the D2C model offers an attractive way to complement (or replace in some cases) their existing network of B2B relationships.
With this shift comes a change in the way a business develops its marketing strategy. Navigating the world of D2C marketing can be challenging, as you now own the end-to-end customer journey. Especially in a world where ecommerce sales continue to be on the rise and consumers are becoming more and more demanding of personalized digital experiences, it has never been more important to develop a strong digital marketing strategy in the world of D2C.
1. Build your brand story and foster new relationships
A key benefit of a D2C model is that you now have complete ownership over brand identity and the customer experience. As a D2C marketer, ensure you’re doing everything you can as a brand to convey your brand story to your target market.
Consistency is key when it comes to communicating across all channels. G2 states companies that focus on maintaining brand consistency across all channels have seen an average growth of 33%. The experience a customer has on social, or email, should have the same experience when hitting a website landing page from a campaign. Many brands also forget to focus on the post-purchase journey – messaging and branding should remain consistent across promotional and transactional messaging.
With an influx of new customers, make a good first impression on new customers. Email is an excellent channel to execute this – create an automated email welcome program that both converts and tells your customers what they’re in store for. More than 8 out of 10 people open welcome emails, generating 4x as many opens and 10x as many clicks as other email sends. An email sign-up indicates a super-engaged customer – take advantage of that engagement and focus on the USPs of your brand.
It’s also important to make sure your GTM is mindful of your current B2B relationships. Don’t become a competitor to your existing customers. The beauty of creating a great brand story is that when done right, it will only help your B2B partners succeed too. Compliment, don’t compete.
2. Focus on driving customer loyalty
Undoubtedly, a focus for D2C marketers initially will be acquisition. Acquisition is obviously very important, but D2C brands must not lose focus on retaining current customers. Acquisition is more expensive than retention – acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one.
Marketers can tap into Dotdigital’s marketing automation to help achieve this. After acquiring a customer, direct marketing channels like email and SMS act as a perfect way to continue to nurture the customer relationship and turn a first-time buyer, into a loyal advocate. You have the foundations to now understand important data such as purchase behavior, interests, preferences, and engagement with your marketing campaigns to curate a personalized experience going forward.
Shopify CEO, Tobi Lutke puts it perfectly; “There are only two things on the internet that you can own: your website and your email list. Everything else is just temporarily rented”.
One of Australia’s most recognized electrical wholesalers, Lawrence & Hanson, had to pivot during COVID-19 to focus on D2C and online ecommerce. During this change, they found huge success focusing on customer loyalty and building out loyalty programs that rewarded loyalty with benefits to drive retention and provided the foundation to succeed and grow their online sales and ecommerce offering. At the end of the day, loyalty boils down to trust. Lawrence & Hanson underpinned their successful loyalty programs with the use of personalization in marketing campaigns.
Customers want to feel as if the brand knows and understands their wants and needs. Lawrence and Hanson did exactly that when shifting away from a ‘batch-and-blast’ email strategy and focused on 1-1 personalization which assisted in building trust with their customers.
B2B customer loyalty does differ from B2C. B2B relationships are more complex, lengthy, and considered sales cycles. But this doesn’t mean loyalty should be valued any less when looking at D2C loyalty. Reward loyalty, recognize it, understand who is buying and what drives them, and you will be able to create a community of loyal advocates.
3. Use data to enhance the customer experience
As the shift to D2C grows your customer base, there are new ways for marketers to look at managing relationships to deliver a personalized customer experience. Where many B2B relationships can be managed by sales/account management teams, D2C marketers must rely on data to effectively manage a larger customer to deliver a personalized customer experience.
- Integrate your martech: This helps you have a holistic view of a customer’s engagement with your brand. A great example of this is seen through leading packaging wholesaler Signet. Implementing an integrated tech stack, enabled the creation of data-focused personalized campaigns and allowed for effective data segmentation and tailored campaigns and promotions. Operationally, this is also going to save you and your team time and make processes more efficient.
- Make use of behavioral data you capture against customers: This will help you send the right message, at the right time. For example, understand the browsing behavior – what category are they frequently browsing? What products? What type of content are they opening, clicking, and resonates best? Use this to change the story you’re telling the customer and enable you to send more relevant content, which in turn will only increase engagement and conversions.
- Capture and leverage zero-party data: Give control to your customers – let them determine how they want to be communicated with. Within a preference center, the best practice is to capture data such as first name, channel opt-ins, frequency of messaging, interested products and categories, etc. Capturing the data is great – but it’s what you do with the data that counts. Place customers in segments and even tailor messaging through the use of dynamic content in email.
D2C marketing strategy summary
To wrap it up, as D2C business models continue to evolve and gain traction, it’s important for businesses to adapt their marketing strategies for long-term success. By concentrating on crafting a coherent brand story, nurturing customer loyalty, and harnessing data for personalized experiences, companies can effectively navigate the world of D2C marketing.