Setting a Digital Strategy for Beauty Brands in Australia
Simple questions to ensure that your beauty brand is reaching and engaging with your beauty audiences online.
If you’re a beauty marketer struggling to understand where to jumpstart your digital marketing efforts or you’ve seen dips in your recent website traffic and engagement across your digital touch-points, you’re not alone.
With digital and tech platforms changing their algorithms at an exponential rate, a number of beauty companies we work with are scratching their heads trying to understand which of these platforms should they be leveraging to grow and scale their beauty products not just in Australia but in other markets.
Written by Niky Sakhrani, Digital & Tech Strategist, www.selicious.com.sg
Many beauty brands make the common mistake of rushing to social media or Google AdWords to push out content or advertising in an effort to reach their audiences, but very quickly realise that they aren't getting the engagement and growth they were looking for.
So why does that happen?
While there are many reasons that can contribute to low online engagement and online product purchase, the challenge usually rises from similar problematic blind-spots that keep beauty brands from building meaningful engagement with their audiences. This has a significant long-term impact on the businesses of beauty brands as it decreases LTV of their customers.
So how do beauty brands then decide which marketing tactics (i.e influencer / micro-influencer marketing, content marketing, etc), social platforms and tech innovations should be employed to stand out amongst the intense competition in order to achieve the desired annual sales and revenue growth?
While we’d love to dish out 5 sure ways to increase your digital presence, there is really no one size fits all solution. However, there are some fundamental questions we find in our experience have helped beauty marketers and/or their marketing agencies gain specific data points that play an essential role in helping marketers prioritize their business and marketing objectives.
By doing this, not only does it give beauty brands clarity on their business and marketing priorities but also helps them make decisions on which marketing tactics would take them from where they are today to where they want to be.
So, what are some of these questions and where do we start?
1) How well is your brand performing online?
While most beauty marketers have an estimation on how their brands are performing online most lack the exact data points and perspective on how is their brand performing online and how is that performance stacking up against their competitors’?
If your beauty brand is active on social media then social listening should be your regular checkpoint. Social listening is the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online.*
With information gathered from social listening (FB/IG post engagement, brand sentiment analysis, content performance etc) brands can gain critical performance insights on how their brand/s or product/s are being received by their audiences; i.e understand what is working and what isn’t.
Social listening tools like TalkWalker are to understand your brand social page performance over a specific period of time inc current and historical performance data.
Taking this performance data allows beauty marketers to understand where they are and then chart out where they want to be.
But what do you do once you’ve understood your brand’s performance online? What do all these data points translate to for the brand’s digital strategy?
This data will only start telling a story once it is benchmarked to your original marketing & business objectives. Which leads us to….
2) Fine combing your beauty business and online marketing objectives
When we work on marketing campaigns with beauty brands, very often we find a large number of are looking to develop either one of these pillars online; brand awareness, online interaction & engagement, product sales and promote brand/product advocacy.
As much as there is nothing wrong in wanting to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, these objectives are a prime example of one of the most common “blind spots” we notice beauty brands (or most brands for that matter) making; which is ensuring these marketing objectives are working in tandem with the beauty brands short and long-term business objectives.
For example, is the business objective to: Enter into a new market? Launch a new beauty brand and/or product line? Re-launching an older but popular beauty product? Arresting a specific product decline?
Say you’re designing a digital marketing campaign to meet the business objective of launching a new beauty product in an existing market, and your brand already has a strong following online, then focusing on an engagement strategy across your social platforms with a specific call to action ( i.e Shop Now, Learn More, Watch Now) with the right emotive content to drive or trigger the desired call to action behaviour will be the recommended approach vs a tactical sale or a promotional approach.
But what if you’re a new beauty brand on the market? Your primary objective is probably to drive awareness followed by engagement online; i.e to first let audiences know about your brand /product unique selling point (content that serves to inform & educate) followed by an engagement strategy (interactive content or a lead generation form) aimed at driving interested audiences to your website for more information / or to your store for a free sample of the product.
By listing 2-3 primary business objectives marketers now have a good starting point as to what the digital marketing strategy needs to achieve over a given period of time.
However, driving awareness for a new beauty brand is tough and many brands struggle with this when they are entering new markets. So what’s the first step in making sure that you’re “discoverable” online?
And what does “discoverable” even mean?
3) Optimising your search-ability on Google and Social Media
Very simply it means making sure that when audiences are searching for a skincare solution related to your brand’s product offering, your brand or product should appear on Google’s first-page search results.
If it is not on the first page, it does not exist. If your website or social pages aren’t appearing on Google’s first-page search results, or it’s performing more poorly than it once did, it is time to do a check-in with Google Analytics to audit your sites search performance.
While this is digital marketing 101, there are scarily a high number of beauty brands not optimizing their search rankings on Google and therefore can never truly reach their objective of driving brand awareness organically. Hence, many beauty brands are continually struggling to drive online engagement, traffic, and purchases.
4. Paid Advertising Online
Another effective way of driving brand awareness works only if marketers have budgeted for ad spend and with that, are armed with a well-defined understanding of who their audiences are and which social/online platforms to reach them on.
Paid social, can be very effective if beauty marketers fully understand:
• Who their primary consumers are
• Where they are these consumers spending time online (Facebook vs Pinterest vs Snapchat?)
• How are consumers discovering beauty trends online? (Blogs, Forums, Social, Friends)
• What type of content do consumers like to engage with (educational vs entertainment vs promotional?)
• Besides skincare/cosmetics, what other interests do consumers have?
Understanding this is essential in establishing a well defined online advertising strategy that will allow marketers to leverage specific online platforms and target segments of audiences that best suit their cosmetic or skin care product offerings.
“Right message, right time has always been a goal of marketing, but now marketers can do it on the audience’s terms. Leading marketers are no longer looking only at demographic audience characteristics or at lookalike audiences. They’re looking for marketing signals that indicate people are at the right moment in life, or when audiences are telling them that they are open to a message ― through search terms, through browsing behavior, and through engagement.” — Laura Beaudin, partner, Bain, and Company*
5) Benchmarking what success means for YOUR beauty brand
Last but not least, once you have your objectives and content mapped out for reaching audiences online, how would you know that your beauty brand has achieved success? What does that look like for your beauty brand?
This question is deceptive in that it appears to be simple but it really does require looking under the hood to really understand what’s happening before setting quantifiable short, medium and long-term goals.
Just like losing weight, inch by inch kilogram by kilogram, each data point is a sign of progress. Tracking progress and benchmarking data points against past performance is indicative if you’re making progress but many marketers want more then just to perform better than last month. They want true conversions/sales that will achieve their overall business objectives.
Setting quantifiable marketing goals is the one sure way to understand if your brand is on track to the overarching business objective.
For instance, several beauty brands we work with want to increase overall online audience growth and interaction on their social media pages in the short term, with the perspective that a wider reach and engagement will in the long term, generate higher product sales.
In this case, we would dive down deeper with our beauty clients to understand their current brand’s performance as well as overarching business goals, before moving on to define success metrics i.e quantifiable goals that will allow them to visualize what success means for their brand performance online.
Quantifiable goals such as; increasing consumer engagement on FB & IG by 5% month on month or increasing product sales via e-comm platform by 5-7% by end of Quarter 3 or increase brand advocacy / positive brand sentiment online from launch date to the end of the campaign by 30%.
Sprout Social is a great social media analytics tool that can help marketers set and track success metrics. With Sprout’s social media analytics, marketers can measure their post & beauty campaign performance across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, all within a single platform. Having post, page and campaign analytics in one place makes it easier to track progress and observe if efforts across multiple profiles and platforms.
There are a host of free and low-cost online tools that beauty marketers can use to manage social media pages, consolidate data insights to understand the success of beauty marketing campaigns that all small, medium and even large beauty enterprise companies should be leveraging to scale their marketing efforts.
The way beauty and skin care brands engage with customers has evolved and digital platforms now are the go-to place for all beauty enthusiasts to learn, discover, engage and make purchase decisions on their next beauty & skincare buys.
Beauty and skin care is an incredibly personal journey for the individual beauty consumer and to remain competitive in this industry, brands must rise to the occasion to meet this need of personalization. The key drivers for beauty and skincare consumers revolve around sensorial experience, conscious consumption and a growing thirst for the science and application behind the product/brand.
This is why beauty and skincare marketers will need to engage in a comprehensive digital and content strategy that encourages beauty and skincare consumers towards a journey of discovery, engagement, purchase, and advocacy.
Written by Niky Sakhrani, Digital & Tech Strategist, Selicious Pte Ltd
Laura Beaudin, partner, Bain and Company - Think with Google Newsletter July 2018
Sprout Social - Social Media Analytics Tool