If you’re in the DTC space, you’ve likely experienced some growth over the past couple of years thanks to the recent eCommerce boom precipitated by the pandemic. In the United States alone, DTC sales reached $129.31 billion in 2021, and this amount is projected to grow to $151.2 billion by the end of 2022.
But competition is fierce from both established DTC companies (think Warby Parker, Birchbox, and Peloton) and newer startups alike. Given the increasingly saturated eCommerce market, it’s important to focus on increasing your presence as much as possible in the coming year. Here are some common DTC marketing mistakes—as well as their solutions—to help you set your business up for success in 2022 and well beyond.
1. Abandoning Brick-and-Mortar Stores Entirely
With the acceleration of store closures caused by the COVID-19 crisis, it might be tempting to hop on this industry trend. However, the U.S. is already seeing shoppers return to stores, a sign that retailers may not want to shutter their doors after all, at least not completely—especially when rent is cheaper than ever thanks to ample vacant retail space.
As of December 2021, 47 percent of Americans reported that they made either weekly or daily purchases from brick-and-mortar retailers, PwC points out. And interestingly, Amazon is currently planning to open full-scale department stores in the U.S., reports The Wall Street Journal. These new stores are in addition to Amazon’s other physical locations and pop-up stores, which brought in about $4.3 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2021 alone.
Other DTC brands have also found success with brick-and-mortar sales this past year. Take the DTC eyewear retailer Warby Parker. According to PYMNTS.com, in2020, 60 percent of Warby Parker’s revenue came from eCommerce, but by June 2021, online sales were down to 50 percent. However, sales were still expected to grow 36 percent to $537 million before the end of 2021 due to the reopening of 30–35 new Warby Parker retail locations.
If investing in a permanent brick-and-mortar store is off the table, consider opening pop-up locations or partnering with retailers. In addition to boosting sales, this is an excellent way to increase brand awareness.
2. Falling out of Contact with Your Email List
Email has long been a critical part of any marketing effort, but if you’re not taking advantage of this platform in the pandemic era, you could be missing out on a substantial opportunity for increasing your DTC sales.
According to a recent survey from LiveIntent, nearly 50 percent of digital marketers reported an increase in their email newsletter open rates since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. 87 percent of respondents report that they invest in email advertising to deepen connections with their target audience, retain subscriptions, and increase sales.
To maximize the impact of email, it’s imperative for DTC brands to maintain an up-to-date email contact list and stay in consistent, relevant communication with those recipients.
A regular e-newsletter is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with potential customers. Use these questions from the marketing experts at The Paperless Agent to develop content that “stands out and truly provides value”:
- What do my ideal customers want or need to hear from me?
- How can I make my ideal customers’ lives easier?
- How can I rethink a generic topic to make it more relevant to my brand?
- Are there timely or seasonal topics that make sense right now?
- How can I appeal to my audience with local content?
3. Overlooking Social Media as a Sales Tool
Considering the latest data published by GWI in their Social Media Marketing Trends in 2021 report, it’s no wonder why more and more brands are investing in social media. 50 percent of consumers find new products on social media, 45 percent use these platforms to research products before buying, and 27 percent are motivated to make a purchase based on social media posts.
However, many brands are making marketing mistakes and missing out on a powerful social media strategy—social selling, which can be particularly effective for B2B brands. If you’re a DTC brand who sells to other businesses, don’t neglect LinkedIn as a sales tool to nurture leads and boost conversion.
Here are a few tips from the communication experts at 4PSA on how to use LinkedIn for B2B social selling:
- Target decision makers. Research your contact’s LinkedIn profile to confirm they have the right job position and decision-making power.
- Find unexpected connections. Look for any interests or affiliations that you and the contact both share, then use this common ground to start a conversation. For instance, you may belong to the same professional organizations or have an alma mater in common.
- Be specific with your searches. Narrow your search results to target specific niches with LinkedIn’s advanced search function. This tool allows you to search based on schools, industries, locations, and companies.
- Include a realistic call-to-action. Respect the lead’s busy schedule by asking for a single reasonable, clear and specific CTA, then make it easy for them to take action. For example, include a link in your direct message to your Calendly.
- Follow up if you don’t receive an answer. Send a courteous message to follow up if you don’t hear back within 10–14 days. After a month, reach out again if necessary.
4. Not Investing in Organic Content
Over 50 percent of marketers plan to increase paid digital advertising in 2022, but according to a recent study from SEO Inc., 53 percent of website traffic comes from organic content. There’s no doubt that paid advertising is an essential part of any DTC business strategy, especially for newer businesses who are still building an SEO foundation. But if you’re relying solely on Facebook, Google, or other PPC advertising, you could be losing substantial amounts of organic traffic to your competitors.
According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads. And what’s more, organic content is a lasting investment, continuing to drive visitors to your website after it’s been published.
Here are some content creation ideas to boost your SEO rankings in 2022:
- Conduct in-depth keyword research. Almost 95 percent of keywords generate fewer than 10 online searches per month, according to recent Ahrefs data. In other words, if you write a brilliant blog post, but it doesn’t contain the right words and phrases that consumers are searching for, this content will not gain much visibility. For maximum impact, research keywords before you create a piece of content to help increase its SERP rankings.
- Know your audience’s search intent. According to Yoast, there are four types of search intent: Informational (looking for answers or data), navigational (looking for a specific website), transactional (looking for a product or service to buy), and commercial investigation (looking for details on a potential future purchase). Make sure every piece of content is produced with search intent in mind to maximize engagement and SEO potential.
- Use videos and interactive media. Blog posts and other written content are essential, but videos and interactive content (quizzes, charts, infographics, maps, audio clips, image sliders, etc.) can offer higher ROI potential: Wyzowl reports that 86 percent of marketers agree video boosts website traffic, 84 percent agree it helps secure leads, 83 percent agree it increases the amount of time users spend on a webpage, and 78 percent agree it directly helps with sales.
- Adapt your content uniquely for each platform. You might be tempted to save time by posting the exact same piece of content on all marketing channels. But while a long-form article may perform well on your blog or LinkedIn network, for instance, it could be a bust on social media, which prioritizes visual content.
Get Ready to Increase Your 2022 DTC Sales
DTC marketing is a competitive business landscape, but you can still achieve growth and success with a savvy marketing plan that raises brand awareness and meets consumers right where they’re at. So avoid these common DTC marketing pitfalls, and you’ll have a head start on creating an effective, successful strategy to boost your sales in 2022.
Jesse Relkin is the founder and CEO of C-POP Content Marketing. She has been a freelance writer and marketing professional for more than a decade, with experience in content strategy, SEO, social media, PR, and more. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.