I recently on-boarded a new client who has just celebrated their one-year anniversary of launching ecommerce in the US. As an agency, when working with a new client, it takes some time to understand their brand as a whole, understand their business, competitors, and opportunities within each channel – NBD, right? And lucky for me, this new client is a luxury beauty brand (yesssss). So first things first, I needed to get really immersed in the brand. And by immersed in the brand I mean buy a few key products for “product research” purposes. Then it was on to actual business. Over the past few months of working with this client, I’ve realized from an agency perspective there are a few key differentiators to working with a newer brand:
- There’s a shortage of customers. At least in the beginning. It’s important to focus on initiatives like email acquisition in order to start growing your customer data base – then you can start communicating to the different customer segments in a unique way, growing brand loyalty and all that good stuff. At this point in the game, consider a program that can drive email sign-ups on a CPL basis or create some buzz through a sweepstakes – partner with a publisher and leverage their customer base to hopefully cross over to yours.
- It’s extremely important to have a social presence, even if it’s small. We recently launched an evergreen social program – promoting everything from new product launches to key PR events. While we by no means expect to drive revenue from these initiatives, what we have seen is that the engagement for this particular brand among its followers is insane! Higher than some of our bigger clients here at PMG! When you are working with a great brand who isn’t exactly a household name, you have the opportunity to reach out to that army of brand loyalists who will follow you to the ends of the earth AND tell their friends all about you. Give them a place to go and worship! I pride myself on finding cool new brands that not many people know about (even if I can’t afford their product), so following these brands on social and shopping apps like Instagram and Spring allows me to stay on top of their latest lines, cool collaborations, celebrities who endorse them, etc.
- Cover the basics through brand paid search and remarketing. Yes, you need to be present for your brand terms when people are searching for you! The volume may not be tremendous, but paid search is such a great tool (also a super cheap tool) for getting your brand message out to customers exactly when they are looking for you or your product – the engines now give you roughly 500 different areas of an ad to truly make yours, so use them all to let customers know what you stand for! As well as what they get if they buy your product….free shipping, free samples, etc. I don’t claim to be a “bargain” shopper, but who doesn’t love to get something for free, especially if it opens up opportunities for customers to try other products…and fall in love. And if customers are coming to your site and looking at specific products, but not converting, what better way to keep them engaged than through dynamic remarketing….sometimes users just need a gentle reminder to complete that purchase (although I’ve never had that issue).
- Don’t just focus on programs that have a strong ROI. Set aside testing budget outside of direct response programs to increase overall buzz and awareness of your brand – bigger partnerships, content distribution partners, YouTube, etc. You may not have the biggest testing budgets in the world, but if you are only focused on direct response, you are only going to be speaking to a very small group of individuals.
- Be hyper-aware of what other teams are doing internally within your client’s business. This is an easy one, but often overlooked – if your client’s PR team is planning a huge event in the next few weeks, get as much info as you possibly can (I know, I know, these things come up at the last minute sometimes) and push content surrounding the event through paid social and paid search….and watch the dollars come in!
What a lot of this comes down to is staying innovative, organized, and on top of new products and features within each of the channels. Bring new ideas to your clients as soon as you hear about them….because sometimes it’s easier to sell a new idea through to those smaller brands than it is the bigger, more established brands.