There are approximately 190 million online shoppers in India. According to a report by Avendus Capital, this burgeoning class of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers is served by more than 600 D2C brands and the addressable market size of this industry will be $100 billion. here 2025.
As internet-first brands, these companies need to be nimble on social media and build digital-first relationships with their new-age customers.
Fortunately, today a young D2C brand, even with limited resources, can use influencer marketing to penetrate the market and win over the consumer base.
Influencers are people who have thousands or even millions of social media followers. By collaborating with them, a D2C brand can promote its product or service to the influencer’s followers. These endorsements are considered more authentic than traditional marketing efforts because influencers are viewed as real people who only endorse a product after using it themselves.
For a new D2C brand, here are five ways to make influencer marketing work for their business:
Make the customer the influencer
An often overlooked source of marketing, a brand’s primary influencers are its direct consumers. A brand should consider a customer’s journey to purchase and create mechanisms that encourage the customer to raise awareness of the product and drop video testimonials about their experience. Specific campaigns to celebrate top customers through meet-and-greets and special events can result in brand image and long-term customer retention.
Early customers are also the most important block to create initial sales traction in the marketplaces. Their ratings and reviews can influence the buying behavior of a new customer. The buying journey should include encouragement along the way so that customers leave a review about their experience.
Generate organic content
Nano- and micro-influencers with 5,000-10,000 followers are great partners for a brand early in its journey, when marketing budget is limited and every rupee spent must count. Even though their own reach is limited, these influencers are great at generating organic content. The brand itself may be in a better position to take this user-generated content and promote it through its own social media channels.
Thrive in the niche
D2C brands, by their very definition, exist as niche categories. Personalized beauty products such as Vedix, protein bars with clean ingredients, and ready-to-eat millet-based products require a different marketing strategy than traditional products. For a D2C brand, it is essential to have a brand story that engages the primary target audience. Brand marketing campaigns should reflect who the customers are and who they want to be, which can sustain the business now and in the future.
For such a business, it makes sense to find and collaborate with niche influencers who resonate with the brand ethos and can deliver an effective campaign rather than working with influencers with a larger follower base.
Beyond social media
A new customer is more likely to buy a product if the recommendation comes from someone they know and admire rather than a generic advertisement or influencer. For a new product, entering a niche category may mean going beyond Instagram and Facebook and targeting the lifestyle WhatsApp groups that the product supports.
For example, if the products in question are compression socks that improve blood circulation while running, the company should consider sending products for testing to members of various running groups in a city and asking them to leave reviews of the group.
As D2C brands gain momentum, big celebrities are also engaging with them. But the only way such an endorsement will feel authentic is if there is a connection between the person and the brand ethos. For example, Deepika Padukone’s endorsement of Oziva is different from her endorsements for Adidas or Levi’s.
A D2C brand looking for a celebrity influencer should look for someone who exemplifies the brand’s ethos. In fact, it’s a better strategy to partner with a lesser-known influencer who has more in common with the brand than with a bigger celebrity who isn’t relevant to the brand.
Influencer marketing offers D2C brands a tremendous opportunity to reach millions of potential customers. Consumers definitely connect better and are more likely to buy when they see real people with relevant content. But the success of the campaign depends on finding the right fit with the audience and choosing the right influencer for the brand.
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