9 Direct-to-consumer Marketing Tactics to Accelerate Ecommerce Growth

Supercharge your direct-to-consumer brand growth by putting these nine marketing tactics into action.

Best Practices
February 20, 2024
Andrae Washington photo
Andrae Washington
Startup Programs Manager
Growth Chart

For direct-to-consumer (DTC) startups, digital marketing is everything.

DTC brands sell directly to their customers, forgoing wholesale and retail routes. A comprehensive, consumer-centric marketing strategy focusing on the most impactful channels can help DTC brands cultivate sustained growth.

Key takeaways
  • Prioritizing the customers’ needs and preferences is essential for DTC marketing success.
  • Implementing user-generated content, influencer collaborations, and shoppable content helps you win on social and drive sales.
  • Optimizing and personalizing your ecommerce website enhances the customer experience.

What is direct-to-consumer marketing?

Direct-to-consumer marketing is how DTC businesses build their brands, promote their products and services, and engage with their customers. DTC brands sell and communicate directly with their customers and interact with them at every stage, from discovery to purchase and loyalty—a significant benefit to their businesses.

Traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) brands sell through wholesalers, retailers, or online marketplaces, which means they don’t have total control over their marketing or customer relationships. By contrast, DTC brands’ customer relationships mean they also have access to the kind of first-party data essential for understanding their customers and influencing them through personalized marketing.

AG1 by Athletic Greens is an example of powerful DTC marketing. The successful brand sells a single product exclusively through its website. The business has a strong command over its brand identity and mission. It’s in tune with the interests of its target customers and knows how to leverage its strongest marketing channels.

Nine DTC marketing growth tactics

Startups and other DTC brands would do well to use the following marketing approaches to gain momentum and reach the next level of growth.

1. Develop a distinct brand identity

While total marketing control is a DTC benefit, it also puts more pressure on brands to stand out with a singular identity. Successful DTC brands like AG1 have a clear mission, consistent messaging, and transparent practices.

Ensure you have clear standards and guidelines for your brand voice and communicate it consistently across your marketing channels. Your brand aesthetics and marketing materials, including your brand logo, colors, fonts, and packaging, are another important consideration. Establishing and maintaining these key elements will strengthen consumer recognition and recall of your brand.

2. Understand your target customers

To effectively reach and attract your prospective and existing customers, become familiar with their behaviors and needs. Spend time and resources researching their interests, the channels they use most, and the problems your product helps them solve.

Gather as much data and insights as you can through various analytics sources. Use advanced analytics solutions like Amplitude’s Digital Analytics Platform to go beyond demographic info and analyze user behavior. Use first-party data sources, like your customer data platform, surveys sent to email subscribers, and product reviews, to gain deeper insights into customer preferences, purchase history, and more.

3. Implement ecommerce website optimization and content marketing

For many DTC brands, their website is their storefront, so it’s critical to ensure it’s primed for organic search and conversions. High-performing ecommerce sites include product pages with detailed and thorough descriptions, high-quality branded and customer-provided visuals, and authentic customer reviews.

Create an enjoyable and frictionless experience by ensuring fast site speed, an easy and quick checkout process, a responsive mobile site, and clear calls to action (CTAs). Attract a high number of organic page views by implementing search engine optimization (SEO) best practices and keywords.

Support your landing and product pages with an editorial content strategy that attracts top-of-funnel visitors. Create blog posts, how-to guides, and thought leadership content that provides valuable resources for your audience and targets relevant keywords.

4. Activate social commerce

Global social commerce sales have grown steadily since 2022 and are forecasted to reach over $2 trillion by 2025. Selling products on social channels that support social commerce is a huge opportunity for DTC brands.

Use major social commerce platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to capture shoppers researching brands and products and drive sales. Upload your product catalog to each specific channel’s shop feature. From there, you can post content featuring your products and tag them individually so shoppers can purchase on the platform.

5. Collaborate with influencers

Partnering with influencers has a powerful effect on brand awareness, audience growth, and increasing sales. The global value of the influencer marketing industry is even more than social commerce and was estimated at over $21 billion worldwide in 2023.

Identify influencers with audiences and content similar or complementary to your brand. Form a relationship and a mutually beneficial agreement with them that may include monetary compensation or complimentary products for endorsing your brand. Working with influencers is a great way to reach new audiences and provide persuasive social proof.

For example, the DTC clothing brand Stitch Fix works with influencers to showcase their products and services. Stitch Fix influencers tag their posts with #stitchfixpartner and make collaborative posts on Instagram to reach a wider audience and garner high engagement.

6. Foster and promote user-generated content (UGC)

UGC is a popular tool for savvy brands because shoppers respond to authentic, relatable content from other consumers. UGC instills trust in brands and products—78% of consumers report having more confidence in purchase decisions when seeing associated UGC.

Foster a culture that encourages customers to share their own content about your brand on social media. Incentivize UGC by asking customers to use your branded hashtag and tag your brand when posting to social for a chance to be featured on your feed or website. Then, share the UGC your customers create to your own profile and tag any featured products to make the content shoppable.

Reviews are another powerful and influential form of UGC. Sales often depend on the existence of product reviews, with 89% of shoppers globally reporting they usually look at ratings and reviews before making a purchase. Encourage customers to leave a review by prompting them via email or SMS. You can further persuade them by offering a promo code in exchange for a review.

7. Practice email and SMS marketing

Email marketing is a low-cost investment that delivers significant ROI. Likewise, the open and conversion rates for text-message marketing are substantial at 98% and 45%, respectively.

Both email- and text-message marketing are ideal channels for personalizing the customer experience using first-party data. For example, you can reach out to customers on either channel with abandoned cart messages or encourage them to revisit a product based on a previous visit to that product page.

DTC meal kit brand Blue Apron increased email conversions by 7% with hyper-personalized emails sent from their customer support team to customers who left items in their cart without purchasing.

8. Enhance your ecommerce site with AI-powered personalization

Just as you can personalize the customer experience with email and text marketing, you can do the same on your ecommerce website. Web personalization is a way to increase customer engagement, average order value, and conversions by making tailored recommendations based on customer preferences.

For example, you can suggest related items to customers based on what’s currently in their cart or on their previous purchases and browsing history. Chatbots and live chat are additional ways to personalize the user experience by interacting with customers in real-time as they shop by answering questions or offering recommendations.

9. Test, measure, then, iterate campaigns

Use analytics tools, including digital analytics, channel-specific social media analytics, and email analytics, to track performance and make data-driven decisions. These insights will show your most successful web and social content, most popular products, and channels or campaigns in need of improvement.

Test different messaging and product positioning with experiments and A/B testing. By running experiments and analyzing the results, you can determine what versions of your app, website, and digital experiences are most successful. Membership-based DTC brand Thrive Market increased conversions and retention by taking this approach to test different subscription-driving strategies.

By combining these nine elements in your marketing strategy, your DTC startup can establish a powerful online presence while attracting and retaining customers.

Want to level up your DTC brand’s marketing strategy? Access our Digital Analytics Platform for free with our Startup Scholarship.

About the Author
Andrae Washington photo
Andrae Washington
Startup Programs Manager
Andrae is Amplitude's Startup Programs Manager, focused on empowering pre-seed to Series A startups, as well as building out our venture partners ecosystem. He is a previous 2x Founder and a 2021 UC Berkeley FORM + FUND accelerator alum.

More Best Practices
Image of Darshil Gandhi
Darshil Gandhi
Principal Product Marketing Manager, Amplitude
Image of Darshil Gandhi
Darshil Gandhi
Principal Product Marketing Manager, Amplitude