Direct-to-consumer brands such as Casper and Warby Parker have successfully turned the world of brick-and-mortar retail on its head, but as with any new brand that enters the market, emerging DTC businesses face an expensive battle to break through the noise and capture the attention of potential customers.
Facebook has shown itself to be a defensible and relevant channel when it comes to generating awareness and driving e-commerce sales. In short, it’s not wavering in its ambition to connect with 2.32 billion people and share knowledge. That dominance means DTC brands can differentiate themselves on Facebook through new forms of interaction and improvements in customer service and satisfaction. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to rolling out FB advertising campaigns:
DO: Develop Creative That Addresses a Clear Pain Point and Its Cure
Video marketing is increasingly proving itself to be one of the most effective mediums for advertising due to its ability to tell a complete story to consumers. In 2018, 71% of people have increased their online video viewing. The most effective ads are able to clearly present a problem and a solution to any pain points, which can achieve some level of viral notoriety when you add in doses of well-timed humor.
Social media allows brands to easily prospect leads and generate noise organically. With highly engaging content, it’s now possible to reach thousands of sub-audiences with precise targeting to reach the customers that are most likely to buy based upon their interest and demographics allowing you to effectively compete with some of the most visible players in the market.
DO: Incorporate User-Generated-Content (UGC)
Brands that share stories that encompass all aspects of the corporate identity have the advantage of connecting with customers on a more personal level. Recent evidence shows that about 70% of brand-related searches on social-networking sites (such as Facebook) relate to UGC. Whether it’s showing off your zany office culture or featuring snippets of behind-the-scenes video content that showcases your consumers interacting with your products #IRL, UGC content can attract younger consumers that crave a sense of constant connectivity and generate reach along with buzz. The key lies in figuring out what motivates your most loyal and outrageous fans and how to work cooperatively with them. Know this — consumers highly value the process of co-creation of scripted and unscripted content, which is heavily advocated and facilitated by Facebook. Use this feature optimistically.
DO: Take the Data and Use It to Develop Essential One-To-One Relationships
View data optimistically. Data is the quickest way to re-imagine effective video story-telling and turn users into brand believers to establish a long-term emotional relationship with its target. Datasets include actions, activities, birthdays, check-ins, history, events, games activity, groups, hometown, interests, lives, location, notes, online presence, photo and video tags, photos, questions, relationship details, relationships, religion, politics, subscriptions, website and work history. There are incalculable variations that can lead you to powerful insights about customers preferences and how to drive deeply personalized experiences. Get a competitive edge and select a data partner to help you to reach out to users at multiple levels and track and re-purpose customer journeys through the implementation of smart data. There’s so much more data available to use in terms of personalization. Data is the critical thing — and you can only get out what you’re prepared to put in.
DON’T: Over-Discount Your Products
While it can be tempting to run promotions or flash sales to get that temporary spike in sales volume, they are often best reserved for sporadic use. Ads that focus on ‘deep discounts’, ‘limited time offers’ and ‘first-come, first-served’ are advantageous when used strategically during holiday seasons and national event marketing as they don’t dilute your existing value proposition. They are actually fantastic when marketed exclusively to your existing re-marketable audiences and don’t help with prospecting new customers. Small-sized discounting can provide the final push to drive a visitor to purchase.
However, frequent discounting creates a potential resistance to repeat purchases when your prices are kept at normal price points. While DTC products may have a lower price point than their retail counterparts, but it’s the over-performance that has a far higher intrinsic value to the consumer. Also, the desire to wait for additional discounting may not fit consumers’ impulse purchase behavior. And, as consumers age, they become less impulsive and more likely to wait for deep discounts. Instead, focus on engaging their attention and speaking directly to their needs with compelling creatives and content that makes a case for why your product is a perfect fit.
DON’T: Run Ads Without Inventory
Brands will need hyper monitoring capabilities to forecast inventory. It may sound redundant to say products in stock can impact your profitability. In the age of next-day-shipping, there’s no greater goal than to guarantee swift delivery and offer a painless buying experience. Without these, you’re potentially creating negative brand affinity by forcing customers to wait for products that aren’t available. Running empty on inventory can lead to a host of issues; in the worst-case scenario, you would lose eager customers that you actually paid to drive to your site. And, lose them for good. The beauty of FB ads is that they can be scaled up and down based upon the status of your business. It’s not such a stretch to think that you are much better off hitting pause and then resuming the ads once you’ve got a product that’s ready to ship.
DON’T: Market in Silos
“Omnichannel” coordination continues to be the goal of marketers today, which means that your marketing efforts should not be conducted independently of one another. Whether it’s on Facebook, across social, in print or part of the brick-and-mortar experience, growing direct-to-consumer penetration is about transforming the end-to-end around the changing shopper journey.
Marketing in silos can result in conflicting messages and content that doesn’t feel aligned, which can leave potential customers confused and possibly drive them to the competition. Today’s consumer has a fickle attention span and is easily distracted particularly when different channels are being leveraged to connect with different audiences, your marketing efforts should be approached holistically to ensure that all extensions of the company are moving in lock-step. In fact, a DTC brand’s greatest competitive advantage is its ability to meet disruptive demands by carving out a new retail experience, identify and create those interactions seamlessly, and reduce the number of communications to build trustworthy and longer lasting relationships with the consumer. Fragmented experiences are why competitive brands lose pace.
For early-stage DTC companies who flock to Facebook, the first few years can be full of make-or-break moments. The biggest hurdle is uncovering just how to connect with potential customers and raise brand awareness. Integral to this effort is having a cohesive and compelling digital marketing strategy; but fortunately for many of these brands, we’ve reached a point where there are market-proven strategies that are delivering repeat successes on social media. Reach is just one part of the equation. DTC brands can find quantifiable success when they reskin the digital front-end and adjust content through to merchandising, services and promotions in a rapid but cohesive manner that expands over every touchpoint in the customer’s journey.
Read More: Three Advertising Takeaways From 2018