Direct-to-Customer (D2C) businesses have made a mark since the pandemic in 2020. With businesses permanently shifting online, D2C businesses became more vital than ever in 2022. Indian D2C sales are expected to hit $60B by FY27.
Today, D2C brands in India of all sizes can grow and drive sales. D2C brands are looking to boost their brand awareness in every way possible – including influencer marketing, Search engine optimization, and paid performance marketing.
In particular, Influencer marketing is becoming popular in this day and age. D2C businesses, in particular, are gravitating towards influencer marketing because it solves their pain points:
- Giving them their target audience
- Boosting their brand awareness and sales
This article will look into leveraging your D2C business with influencer marketing.
Challenges That D2C Startups Are Facing
D2C businesses face several challenges. The main challenges they face are:
- Attracting potential traffic
- Converting this traffic into customers
- Retaining these customers
- Order fulfillment
- Building trust and improving customer loyalty
However, we will discuss two out of these challenges since influencer marketing can help with these:
- Brand visibility and retaining new customers
- Building trust and improving customer loyalty
Brand Visibility & Retaining Customers
With many D2C brands today offering similar products, it can be challenging to stand out to your target audience. It is often difficult to attract prospects in the first place. This is where an influencer can help you.
Even the relatively less popular influencers have a dedicated fan base of 5,000 – 10,000 followers who will listen to them. These influencers can bring their attention to your brand.
Today’s marketing is all about social proof. If a product or brand receives excellent reviews, other people are likely to buy it or, at the very least, take a look at it. Similarly, if an influencer endorses your brand, you can be sure that they will endorse you as well. Again, it’s all about social proof.
Why Is Influencer Marketing Effective For D2C Businesses?
As we’ve already established, influencers can expose your brand to your target audience. It is essentially a form of word-of-mouth marketing. If you were to partner with an influencer, they would support and use your products, making your influencer marketing campaign more organic.
Since they know your products inside out, they can tell their audience what they love about your brand and how it helped them. If you have customer insights, you can market these advantages to solve their pain points.
You can analyze purchase preferences and get your influencer to send your audience incentives like free samples, discounts, etc. In a nutshell, influencer marketing works well because it is authentic.
How Does Influencer Marketing Help D2C Businesses?
Here are a few ways influencer marketing can help your D2C business:
- Improves credibility and trust: As mentioned, having an influencer endorse your brand creates heaps of proof in the eyes of their followers. If they recommend your business and products, their followers will look up your brand and probably become customers.
- Improves brand awareness: As you learn, one of the main challenges D2C brands face is exposure to their target audience. Reaching the right audience and not just anyone on social media is vital to boosting sales and driving growth. Since influencers have built their brand in your niche, they have dedicated followers.
- Boosts sales: This is a no-brainer. Increased brand awareness, trust, and credibility translate to more sales.
- Dedicated audience: More than just gaining visibility is required. You will need more than random followers on your social media page to guarantee an increase in your sales or even engagement. Ideally, you want people who are interested in your brand. Partnering with an influencer can make this happen.
- Optimizes your content strategy: Influencers have been on social media for a while and know what makes their audience tick. They can help you tweak your marketing efforts to maximize your results with their audience.
- Increases engagement: Since influencers expose your D2C business to your target audience, you can expect a more significant chunk of them to engage with your posts and stories since these are the people you are catering to.
- Helps get you, customers quickly: Since influencers have a dedicated following, partnering with an influencer can help you score leads quicker than you would with other forms of marketing. Unlike other marketing methods, you will also not have to deal with a high churn rate.
How To Start An Influencer Campaign
Now that you are probably sold on the importance and benefits of influencer marketing let us take a look at how to start and run an influencer campaign:
Get On Social Media And Choose A Channel
You can only market your D2C business if you are on social media. So, get on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and choose a channel to run your influencer campaign.
(Hint: start with Instagram, most influencers are on Instagram).
According to The Small Business Blog, there are 37M influencers on Instagram.
However, you can run effective influencer campaigns on Facebook, YouTube, etc.
- While Facebook isn’t nearly as popular as Instagram, you can run cross-channel campaigns, especially since Facebook owns Instagram.
- YouTube is still running strong and is a beautiful platform for long-form video content. In other words, you can post unboxing videos, product reviews, demos, behind-the-scenes, and other exciting long-form content.
- Since a sizable chunk of your audience is young, you will have to market your brand where the audience is – on Instagram. You can complement your ‘heavy’ and ‘serious’ YouTube videos with light-hearted, short, and casual videos and post them as reels on Instagram.
You should run campaigns on all four social media channels. If you can only do some of the four, start with Instagram. As we mentioned earlier, Instagram has the most influencers.
What Do You Want?
If you are running a campaign, wouldn’t it make sense to know your desired outcome? Define your goals and outcomes from this campaign before you set it up. Do you want more sales? More traffic? A dedicated following? Be clear with your goals.
Decide Your Budget
Before you contact any influencers, you need to decide how much money you want to invest in your influencer marketing campaigns. If you’ve never done it before, we suggest you go with a nano or micro-influencer at a reasonable budget. That way, you can test your campaign with different variables.
Do Your Research
Now, there are tons of influencers on Instagram. Before you decide to contact them, you need to ask yourself a bunch of questions:
- Is the influencer in your niche?
- Do they have a dedicated following?
- Would they be a perfect fit?
- Are their followers real (Qoruz can help you find out)
- Do their followers regularly engage with their content?
Considering how just about anyone can become an influencer on Instagram, it is vitally important to be able to distinguish between genuine influencers and those with paid followers. You can use an influencer marketing platform to search for influencers based on age, location, engagement rate, and other parameters.
Reach Out To Them
Once you decide on an influencer, contact them via email or DM. Influencers generally include their contact information in their bio. Be sure to ask them to try your product before you both agree on a campaign. Using an influencer marketing platform can make it easy for you to start your influencer marketing campaigns.
Start And Track Campaigns
Assuming you’ve figured out your goal for this influencer campaign, you can run affiliate, sponsored campaigns, or giveaways.
- Affiliate campaigns are campaigns where the influencer receives a percentage of every sale that happens through them.
- Sponsored campaigns are campaigns where the influencer creates social media posts to promote your products and brand.
- As the name suggests, giveaways involve influencers announcing giveaways to increase likes, comments, shares, etc.
Of course, as you do this, be sure to track these campaigns while keeping the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in mind:
Use an influencer marketing platform to track and analyze your campaigns with ease.
ROI Of Influencer Marketing
As you can see, there are a ton of benefits of influencer marketing. However, one critical benefit is the high Return On Investment (ROI) of influencer marketing today. Here are some fascinating statistics to showcase the importance of influencer marketing:
According to Financial Express,
55.4% of marketers leveraged influencer marketing in 2019, which grew to 72.5% in 2022, for a total increase of 17.1%.
According to India Retailing,
22% of users aged 18–34 make their buying decisions after watching celebrity endorsements.
According to Startup Bonsai,
92% of consumers trust online word-of-mouth recommendations.
Influencer marketing is alive and kicking. D2C businesses of all shapes and sizes can leverage the power of influence marketing to increase their brand awareness, credibility, and revenue, ultimately allowing them to compete with the big sharks in the D2C space. If you are a D2C business, pay attention to the power of influencer marketing.