Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The digital marketing landscape has undergone a drastic shift. No longer can marketers rely on traditional marketing channels of search and social. The costs are rising, and profit margins are diminishing. Given this, DTC brands will find it daunting to capture high lifetime value (LTV) customers, and if they do, there is no guarantee of any long-term, repeatable business. This is where media coverage, including PR, comes to the rescue for DTC brands. And it is intensely competitive. The three top ways in which brands can leverage media coverage are below.
Spread the link
The link here is a reference for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a supplement to public relations. The success stories of DTC brands such as Casper (explored in the next section) display the power of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing goes a long way in helping you to reach your target audience. And the best part? It occurs at every stage of the customer journey. Another aspect is that you only pay for measurable results in affiliate marketing, making it a low-risk method for DTC brands to generate leads and traffic and fuel sales volumes.
What is affiliate marketing? And how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertising method. In this, an individual or company (or a network) gets to earn a commission by redirecting new visitors and customers to a business website. Essentially, a brand promotes a product or service and leaves a link to that offer. Content creators such as bloggers and social media influencers often use this method on most platforms. Also, affiliate marketing entails signing up with a company or network.
Through this network, DTC brands get to widen their reach and visibility. And when someone buys or executes the desired action using the network, the network gets paid. There are several affiliate networks out there. The few common ones are:
The stats on affiliate marketing
Note that 21 percent of the higher average order value of sales happens via affiliate marketing. About 16 percent of all e-commerce sales in the U.S. are generated through affiliates. And around 58 percent of the higher annual customer revenue happens via affiliate marketing. With good reason, there are more than a few benefits to be gained from affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing generated $6.8 billion in revenue in 2020 alone. So, there’s proof to the pudding.
Monitoring SEO and other search trends
Today, publishers are very savvy and enthusiastic about SEO trends. Thanks to Google, the platform has transformed how it surfaces product reviews. The reason is that today’s consumers Google a product before making a purchase. They do so to avail themselves of the best possible evaluations that are easy to find. These savvy brands then serve as a public relations avenue by helping journalists to create excellent reviews. Hence, knowing the search payoff beforehand is worth the extra effort for DTC brands to jump on the bandwagon.
However, Google does more than just present reviews. The search engine also looks at the article for expert knowledge. It uses that information to find comparable products and quantitative measurements to gauge how the product or service measures up. The work for the DTC brands begins with samples. The brands usually send samples to journalists with tip sheets to help them write fact-based, authoritative articles to improve their visibility. It is these articles that, once they appear in the Google search engine, make for an excellent PR strategy for the DTC brand.
The case of Casper
Casper, a U.S.-based mattress brand, has set up search-specific landing pages. It has also funnelled Adwords money to its website to elevate its position in the market. The result? Casper gets a critical share of the 550,000-plus monthly mattress Google searches. What’s more, Casper tops the Google search results for several mattress-related terms. Right from a reviews landing page to a duvets inserts landing page, Casper has, for itself, a customized SEO flytrap page. So, virtually any mattress-related keyword that users type into Google, their purchase intent will present the Casper website.
To leverage and up the SEO game, DTC brands can use several SEO tools to optimize their websites. Some of the more notable are:
Hubspot Website Grader
Google Search Console
Leverage the power of social media
Another way to attract eyeballs towards your brand is to leverage social media advertising. So, if a DTC brand receives media coverage, it should share the news with its fans and followers. And these are typically found on social media brand accounts. Social media is an excellent way of racing out to new customers. A word of caution there — do not stop here!
You can also leverage other powerful aspects within the PR spectrum. These are reviews and personal recommendations (digital word-of-mouth marketing methods). Your regular and known customers get updated on your press coverage. But, they can do more than just that. Often, they share the link with friends and family via WhatsApp and other applications. What this does is provide multifold influence from an existing customer. It makes for an excellent way of converting new customers. Most importantly, your owned content is crucial. So share the coverage details on the blog site and link back to the article.
Remember, consumers prefer and trust a well-rounded review that mentions other brands. So make sure that the coverage is not pushy or overselling. This is especially true for the younger generation, as they are more media-savvy. They belong to an era where reviews are a daily social media staple.
Media is the name of the game. As seen from above, it can take several forms. DTC brands need to hone and forge collaborative pursuits with the media and audiences to break out of the competitive clutter and stand out among their peers. This online presence, PR included, can then make or break your brand. Additionally, DTC brands should also consider leveraging the power of media to be at the top of trends.