Retail and manufacturing are becoming one, and customers are loving it. In the US alone, 40% of potential online buyers expect that in the next five years, DTC brands will account for 40% of their shopping.
Savvy DTC brands know this and are building up. They’re collaborating and using smart marketing tactics to drive sales, grow their revenue and ultimately improve their brand image and online presence.
Here, we have tactics and concrete examples of successful marketing efforts to inspire you, namely:
Direct-to-consumer brands can exchange package insert advertisements with other brands with similar target groups to widen their reach. Companies like UnDigital match brands seeking such advertising opportunities.
The concept is pretty simple.
You’d prepare cards or mini-brochures and send them to be inserted into another brand’s packages. The inserts then introduce your brand and offerings to the audience of your partner brand when they receive the package.
This tactic is effective for several reasons:
Winc is a direct-to-consumer winemaking and distribution company. In November 2018 Winc included inserts from two complementing brands, Byourbed and Rue La La, in its boxes. Meanwhile, its ad inserts appeared in The Yoga Club’s packages.
In January Winc ran another promotion. In their Winc boxes were a few curated Valentine’s Day inserts. This box’s theme was “date night” to bring attention to the curated ads.
The Winc team says they try to personalize the experience for their clients with the inserts, while making sure the ad inserts match the wine of the month in some way.
Jenson sells 99% of their bikes via DTC channels. They wanted to work with brands that matched their ethos and audience, and found partners in the faces of Harry’s and Brickwell Cycling. Both brands have a customer demographic of men around 35 years old.
Ivan Tijerina, Jenson’s digital ads associate, says they use ad inserts more often during the winter months. That’s when sales slow down and package inserts offer Jenson USA the opportunity to improve the numbers.
Another reason is the increase in advertising costs of other channels. Ad inserts help the brand engage with potential customers in a cost-effective and less intrusive way. So far, they have sent out between 30,000 to 45,000 branded inserts through partners.
MyPhoto, a frame-on-demand photo service, and vitamin membership brand LuckyVitamin partnered up in the autumn of 2018.
The vitamin company distributed about 1,500 ad inserts for MyPhoto to its customer base. MyPhoto’s Head of Marketing Michael Ross explains why this made marketing sense for the company:
LuckyVitamin is a global DTC brand. New brands on the market can make use of such channels to get their feet wet in a potential client pool without making huge commitments upfront.
It’s like the inserts, but more direct – people see and try your products right away. Winc, Everlane, and ClassPass use Wove for sample swapping as well.
Email marketing remains the darling of digital marketing. For a marketing channel that on average generates $38 for every $1 spent, no wonder why marketers love email lists!
That’s why email marketing partnerships make sense for DTC brands looking to keep costs down.
Start by identifying DTC brands that complement your product or brand. Reach out to the people in charge of partnerships and offer them a mutually beneficial email feature (reciprocity is key). Terms and formats will vary among brands as each one does email a little differently.
The chief reason is that the audiences of each DTC brand are well defined. Targeting an audience whose motivations, needs, interests you already understand and that already buys from a DTC brand is golden. There’s little left to do.
Your partner introduces you to their brand’s audience. And the audience transfers their warmth and trust for your partner to you.
This arrangement is a form of referral marketing. And referred leads tend to convert 3 to 5 times better than leads from other channels.
Instead of running independent campaigns, you can benefit from the types of emails that get the most eyeball – transactional emails.
According to Experian, at an open rate 8 times higher than other emails, transactional emails give you the best chance to get seen.
DTC home detergent company Frey drives sales thanks to email audience swaps.
They used a tool called Wove that connects brands with similar target audiences to expand their reach to potential customers.
Facebook lookalike audiences help you expand your reach to more people like your best customers. When the Frey team felt it’d reached diminishing returns from its lookalike audiences, they turned to Wove, which also helps interested businesses to exchange Facebook Lookalike Audiences.
The detergent brand was able to find partners whose Facebook lookalike would be a great fit for them.
Winc has also used Facebook lookalike audiences for customer acquisition and brand promotion. They’ve partnered with Parachute, Sun Basket, and ClassPass.
Winc is very careful whom they target. People who buy from Parachute, a DTC bath and bedding brand, are likely to care for carefully crafted, possibly bespoke, items. They are open to direct-to-consumer brands, too. This makes them a good match for Winc because both brands promote similar lifestyle with an artisan aesthetic.
Sun Basket is another strong match for Winc. Like the Parachute audience, Sunbasket’s subscribers care for personal style. They want to eat homemade healthy meals.
You could even imagine what would go on here. The audience orders specially crafted wine from Winc and makes some meal from organic ingredients and recipes supplied by Sunbasket. And under their feet is an artisan’s wonder − a rug from Parachute.
Everything comes together. The wine, food, and bedding. That’s the idea.
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