Highly-Effective DTC Marketing Strategies & Examples

The DTC market is absolutely booming at the moment – it’s a great way for brands to boost profits, build consumer loyalty and stay relevant in a ‘commodity product’ filled world.

However, the unfortunate truth is that most DTC brands will just fall by the wayside and get ignored as people flock toward their more ‘marketing savvy‘ competitors….

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Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Marketing Strategies That Actually Work…

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’d rather not fall into the ‘commodity’ trap that so many brands unfortunately do…

So in this blog, I’m going to pull back the curtain on 5 extremely powerful DTC marketing strategies (both paid AND organic) with tangible examples of each, that you can leverage from hyper-growth DTC brands to help you build an audience of high-value raving fans, WITHOUT going broke on unprofitable paid ads.

How To Leverage SEO For Building A Powerful Organic Presence

Organic is often overlooked as the ‘less sexy’ alternative to organic growth.

However, when done right, it can create a consistent and profitable acquisition channel for DTC brands that can also help build huge authority and trust amongst consumers.

In this example we’ll take a look at Zoe, one of the UK’s fastest growing DTC healthtech companies (growing to over 600 employees in just 6 years)

Now whilst Zoe have raised significant funding and also leverage other acquisition channels, the organic presence they’ve built over the years does a lot of the heavy lifting to bring in new consumers at the top of the funnel.

In fact, Zoe currently rank for over 100,000 keywords in the UK alone

Zoe Health Organic Traffic & Keyword Growth

So firstly, for some context here, Zoe offer a home-testing kit & app to help people better understand their own biology and how their body responds to certain foods.

Their ICP is likely people who are very health/nutrition focused or are potentially struggling with some digestive or food-related conditions.

As such, they create content that they know their customers would be typing into Google.

This allows them to be able to rank for these search terms (some of which have over 20,000 searches per month!!

Zoe Health Organic Traffic & Keyword Growth

Next, they then incorporate contextual CTA’s into the blog to turn the intent of that visitor (someone trying to figure out the nuances of certain foods and the effects it will have on their body, into a highly relevant next step which starts their customer journey.

Example of a CTA in a blog post

The way you frame this CTA and make it relevant to the blog somebody is reading is absolutely essential. In fact, it can be the difference between blogs that generate traffic, but no leads/sales, and a blog that consistently turns organic traffic into leads and customers.

As such, make sure you’re always factoring in the intent behind the keyword(s) you want your blog to rank for and how much you can make the CTA as relevant as possible.

When done right, we often see blogs like this converting up to 5% of visitors into leads.

So, let’s do the math here, if you get a blog ranking for a high-intent, high volume search term that brings you 10,000 visits a month, and you can convert 5% of those into leads for the brand.

That’s over 500 leads a month you’ve generated completely organically from just ONE blog.

Let’s say 10% of those then go onto becoming a customer with an average £600 LTV…

That’s £30,000 of new customer value being generated each month from ONE blog post.

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The best part of this entire strategy is that it doesn’t cost a penny, and those articles (when ranking) can stay in Google and drive traffic to your website for years to come.

Now before you go saying…🗣“That’s all good for them Tom, but they’re a huge brand with massive domain authority, it’s easy for them to rank”…

That simply doesn’t matter anymore…

Since Google’s helpful content update, which was rolled out to help tackle lazy-AI generated content, factors like Domain Authority or backlinks alone are playing less of a part.

Google care more about the overall quality of the content and the expertise & experience of the person writing it.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s Hubspot, a billion-dollar CRM software company who generate over 1 MILLION visits per month and who’s name is almost synonymous with B2B marketing.

And here’s us just casually outranking their own blog for B2B marketing ideas & strategies…

Elevate Vs Hubspot Organic Rankings - B2B Marketing

The fact is, if you create good content, you can leverage this strategy to start ranking and driving highly targeted traffic to your site, regardless of where you’re starting from.

Check out the video below on how to start creating content that can help get you ranked in search engines.

Great DTC Founder/Personal Brand Examples

This one is a personal favourite of mine…

The fact is, most DTC brands are started by passionate founders who often have a great story to tell.

So if you’re willing to start sharing you story, you can not only build huge trust with consumers, and differentiate yourself in a commodity-driven market.

But you’ll also find yourself creating an audience of fans (not just customers) who will do a lot of your marketing for you!

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Let’s take a look at Tim Hayden, a regular dad who decided to quit his job and pursue his passion for watches.

Tim started posting content when creating the business and sharing each step along the way (the good and the bad) with a mission to become seen as the world’s most transparent watch company.

And if you’re wondering, these were literally videos shot on his phone from his kitchen (no expensive equipment or film crews here…)

These videos were incredibly raw and included everything from discussing the costs, profits, manufacturing process and all.

Whilst most brands focus on building the biggest followers, Tim instead focused on the connection with each individual follower. Ultimately, this level of connection, authenticity and transparency helped him make the each and every single follower feel like they were part of the brand they were buying into.

Tim then launched a crowdfunding campaign, where they were able to raise over £10,000 from the community he’d built to get Hagley West off the ground.

DTC Watch Brand Hagley West Crowdfunding

From there, Tim continued to post daily, continuing to share every step of the journey.

Since the brand was all about the community, Tim started focusing more on engaging with his audience.

DTC Watch Brand Hagley West Crowdfunding

He even began doing hand-deliveries to customers and recording the whole interaction, which naturally picked up a lot of attention.

He began using the hashtag #loveyourjourney which was adopted by the community as it resonated with their own values.

He then began running a number of fun games and events like the “Find Tim Challenge” whereby he would record a live video from a certain location and wait for one of his followers to figure out where he was. If anyone found him, they would get a free watch.

This was a great way to get the community involved whilst also making the content and competition itself inherently sharable, since if you knew someone in a particular area you recognised, you’d be likely to share the video with them and tell them to go find Tim.

People also love ‘reaction videos’ so being able to see the audiences reactions to receiving a free watch, gave these videos a further virality factor.

Tim has since generated over 2.5m followers across his social channels with over 1.8m from TikTok alone!

Hubspot Monthly Blog Traffic in Semursh

But this isn’t all about social media followers and likes…

This strategy has led to tangible results, leading to Hagley West Watches being named one of the fastest-growing watch brands in the world and crossing over $2m annual sales in 2023.

Story-Focused Paid Advertising Strategy For DTC Brands

Over the past few years, we’ve audited 100’s of paid advertising campaigns and the results aren’t pretty.

The crazy thing is, even some of the biggest brands out there people look up to, are actually LOSING money on ads. They’ve often just built up other solid acquisition channels  so they’re able to recoup some of these losses.

As such, copying your ‘successful’ competitors on blind-faith alone is never a good idea.

This doesn’t mean paid ads can’t work, it’s just that with consumer trust lower than ever, the way in which you advertise has changed. So by following some core principles, you can start significantly reducing your cost-per-acquisition and boosting your advertising ROAS.

This video explains the process in more detail:

Let’s also look at another great example here by water filtration brand Water2.

Their ad creatives are broken into 3 distinct parts from the top, middle and bottom of the funnel.

At the top of the funnel, they’re focused on storytelling and educating customers on the big problem they’re solving for

Hubspot Monthly Blog Traffic in Semursh

You’ll also notice that this content, doesn’t even feel like an ad, instead it feels like content native to the platform it’s being running on by leveraging the current content trends of that platform (in this instant, using the greenscreen commentary effect applied on IG reels)

This leads to higher overall engagement because people no longer feel like they’re being sold to, and more that they’re consuming content.

Next you’ll see they switch into educating people about their product and the story of the founder behind it to help simultaneously build trust while also creating desire and a need for the product.

This can be done by re-targeting all of the views of our content at the top of funnel. To make this even more effective and further reduce your advertising CPA, you can ONLY show these MOF ads to people who have watched 50% or more of the TOF content. Meaning we’ve got a more engaged audience who likely resonated more with the initial problem we were discussing.

This approach of only re-targeting our warmest, most engaged audience reduces budget wastage in later parts of the funnel

MOF DTC Brand Ad Creatives

Then finally, they focus on ads that showcase user-generated content, customer reviews and direct-response offers in order to drive conversions.

BOF DTC Brand Ad Creatives

The key with this approach is to keep your content as diverse and organic feeling as possible to help build trust with consumers.

Instead of thinking about finding ‘one-winning ad’…focus on how you can tell a story through several pieces of content that help establish a problem, build trust and creative desire

You can then up the ante in further by leveraging powerful psychological triggers like scarcity to ramp up conversions. (don’t overuse this however as it can end up damaging your reputation if used too often… we recommend only using scarcity where it’s true)

BOF DTC Brand Ad Creatives

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), DTC Sales Funnels & Experimentation

This is by far one of the most overlooked aspects in all DTC brand marketing strategies.

If you’re not focused on optimising your sales funnels or running a/b tests and CRO experiments on your website, you’re effectively pouring water into a leaky bucket.

You might be left wondering if your marketing is even working…

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For example, let’s say you’re currently getting 120,000 visits a month to your website, have a conversion rate of 2% (a pretty typical CVR for a lot of DTC brands) and an AOV of £120, leading to sales of £288,000 a month.

Well, get this…

If you were to increase your conversion rate by a measly 1%, that would amount to a monthly revenue increase of £144,000 PER MONTH.

A great example here is Spacegoods, a wellness brand that sells mushroom and adaptogen blends.

They run a number of experiments on their paid traffic landing pages with different page variations, headline and image variations and more, to understand which version converts best.

Spacegoods Ad Creatives

This consistent experimentation and optimisation allows them to consciously increase their conversion rate over time, leading to a lower CPA, higher ROAS and more profitable marketing.

But they don’t just stop there…

They even have dedicated pages and funnel, depending on the different ads they are running or different personas they are targeting.

After all, if somebody has seen ad ad to do with ADHD, that’s the first thing they want to see when the land on your page, not some generic headline to cover the broadest audience.

Spacegoods Ad Creatives

Obviously, this kind of approach isn’t practical when you’re starting out with limited resources. But if you’re at the stage where you’re looking to profitably scale your ad campaigns, this level of segmentation and optimisation is essential to getting the most bang for your buck.

Another thing you’ll notice about the landing pages above is that they have NO menu items in their header whatsoever, other than a CTA to ‘TRY NOW’.

Spacegoods Ad Creatives

That’s because this product page has been built specifically for their paid advertising campaigns, and since they are advertising a specific offer/product, they don’t want to overwhelm people with options.

That person clicked the ad because they liked what they saw, so 100% of the focus should now be on building on that desire, establishing trust and making the sale.

If you look at their main website, they have their regular menu to allow people to shop around, this is ideal for customers who search for your brand organically or repeat are coming back to buy again.

Spacegoods Ad Creatives

It’s important to remember here that conversion rate optimisation isn’t a one-and-done thing. You’ll want to continuously be testing over time as you scale and branch out into new audiences, to understand the different hooks, images & CTA’s that work with different segments of the market.

You’ll also want to sign up for a visitor behaviour analytics platform like LuckyOrange or Microsoft Clarity to view heatmaps and session recordings, which will help you understand exactly where you’re losing people on the page.

visitor behaviour analysis and a/b testing agency

Elevating Your Customer Value

Clickfunnels Founder Russell Brunson once said “Whoever can afford to spend the MOST to acquire a customer will win.”

This might sound like an odd thing to say given that most brands want to REDUCE spend not increase it, but the message here is on the importance of maximising both your lifetime customer value and average order value, which will in turn, skyrocket your return on ad spend (ROAS).

That way even if the latest Facebook Algorithm update throws your campaigns out of whack, or market conditions change, you’ve got enough of a profit buffer to ride out the storm…

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One of the best ways to increase your AOV, is to leverage order bumps or one-click upsells in your DTC sales funnels.

The reason, these are so effective (more so than regular website cross-sells/up-sells) is because they firstly remove friction.

But also because of WHEN this is being offered in the process.

It’s the same reason, stores have merchandise isles in the queues with small, cheap items, because they know people have already committed to the sale at that point, and they make it easily and effortless for you to pick up while you’re already queuing to pay…

One Click Upsell Example on shoes and shoe cleaner

The other great thing about one-click upsells in particular, is you don’t need to re-enter your card details, and people have to simply click a button on the order confirmation page, after they’ve placed the initial order, to add the new item.

McDonalds are the absolute masters of this…

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Now that you’ve optimised your sales funnel to boost your CVR and AOV, you’ll want to think about how you can increase your lifetime customer value over time.

A big part of this is going to come down to a solid lead nurture strategy leveraging email, re-targeting campaigns, community, SMS and any other methods you can keep in touch with your audience.

However, the key here is to keep the focus on delivering value to your audience, so people keep coming back for me.

The online plant store Patch is a great example of this with their email follow up sequence.

After you buy a plant from them, they send a series of educational videos on how to care for your new plant.

Spacegoods Ad Creatives

They then have super valuable video guides that guide you to on the website which subtly mention additional product, and they even have a little side panel next to the video so you can easily add those items to your cart.

Spacegoods Ad Creatives

In the video below, I cover this strategy in more detail and why this is so damn effective at increase the value of every new customer you get through the door.

The Best DTC Marketing Ideas Are The One’s That ACTUALLY Get Implemented

It probably goes without saying that all the ideas and strategies in the world aren’t going to help unless you fully commit to implementing and testing them.

However, if you’re struggling to prioritise which strategies to implement or what would be best for your specific brand, we’ve got you covered!

Use the link below to book a free personalised marketing audit where one of our team will send you a 10-15 minute video screenshare showing you the current bottlenecks in your marketing strategy and what you can do to boost your results over the next 30, 60 and 90 days.

Want Better Results From Your DTC Marketing Strategy?

Book your FREE digital review today and we’ll record you a personalised video going through your website, showing you how you can generate more website visitors and then turn those visitors into paying customers.

Tom Peyton
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