March 2, 2023

Direct-to-Consumer Marketing: 8 Top Strategies For DTC Marketing Success

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A direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce approach is powerful, as it lets you go straight to your customers and have more control over their buyer experiences. Moreover, because you bypass third-party channels like Amazon or Instagram, you avoid their associated risks, like having your account suspended or your main sales page shut down. There are stories of […]

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Rachel Go

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A direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce approach is powerful, as it lets you go straight to your customers and have more control over their buyer experiences.

Moreover, because you bypass third-party channels like Amazon or Instagram, you avoid their associated risks, like having your account suspended or your main sales page shut down.

There are stories of Amazon account suspensions, Facebook and Instagram accounts being shut down, and eBay sellers being banned at every turn.

When you rely on channels and platforms you don’t own for acquisition, things can get hairy when you’re suddenly cut off from your customers.

DTC marketing mitigates this risk, but since you start with less brand recognition and fewer distribution channels, the downside is you’ll have a steeper hill to climb when it comes to acquisition.

But DTC marketing can help you reach the top.

When used wisely, DTC marketing:

  • Gives you a direct line to your customers
  • Lands your brand in front of the right consumers at the right time
  • Convinces leads to give you their information—whether through a newsletter subscription, purchase, or account creation—so you can market to them directly

Unlike marketplaces, where you usually stop pursuing buyers after a single sale (Amazon’s seller code of conduct, for instance, prohibits marketing communications), DTC lets you remarket to those consumers, resulting in higher customer lifetime values, stronger retention, and increased cart values.

Read on to learn:

#cta-visual-pb#Supercharge your most powerful DTC marketing assetCreate a website that engages shoppers, gets conversions, and keeps customers coming back for more.Start building for free


What is DTC marketing?

Source: Unsplash

Direct-to-consumer marketing refers to brands marketing directly to their buyers, bypassing third-party acquisition methods such as relying on a marketplace to attract shoppers or affiliates to sell your products to their audiences.

Compared to general ecommerce marketing, its methods and channels are more limited, as you only focus on tactics that allow your brand to contact and converse directly with your shoppers.

Meanwhile, ecommerce marketing leverages more online channels in an effort to drive sales, which exposes brands to a wider range of audiences. These varying approaches result in multiple key differences between DTC and traditional ecommerce businesses.

DTC vs B2C marketing

DTC brands B2C brands
Long-term vs immediate sales Emphasize brand building and storytelling with focus on multi-touch long-term relationship building Emphasize individual products and benefits with the focus on immediate conversion on the current channel
Messaging tone Deliver more targeted and personalized messaging Use generalized messaging to appeal to the widest audience
Catalog and pricing May have smaller product lines but offer them at premium pricing May have larger product lines with more competitive pricing
Sales channels Rely on their own website and social media presence May sell through multiple online marketplaces
Audience Smaller, niche customer bases with higher lifetime values and retention rates Lower acquisition costs but also lower retention rates
Customer experience More control over customer experiences Less control due to third-party marketplaces

Benefits of DTC marketing

Despite its limitations on reach (especially when you’re starting out), DTC marketing allows you to reap many benefits that offset its challenges.

Own your customer relationships

Since you go directly to shoppers instead of relying on a marketplace or other platform you have no control over, you’re in charge of how you nurture relationships.

This freedom helps DTC brands develop long-lasting bonds with their customers.

In fact, those in the top 25% secure a five times higher customer lifetime value (CLV) because of it.

Optimize your omnichannel experience

Image: Unsplash

Shoppers are increasingly looking up brands on different platforms, such as a company’s website, social media (which close to 40% of Gen Z use instead of Google), and online marketplaces.

DTC marketing ensures that, as long as you own the channel, the customer experience is seamless, branded, and optimized—no matter where they encounter your brand.

Shoppers who find you through an ad can click through and find similar branded colors, copy, and images on a landing page. Or they might click through a CTA in an email and see a customized collection based on their preferences.

Additionally, if you employ three or more channels in your marketing campaigns, you can enjoy a 494% higher order rate compared to just one.

Gather clearer insights into your buyers

Gain more information about your buyer behaviors with DTC marketing.

When you rely on another platform to reach customers and close sales, you lose insight into how your consumers shop.

If they buy through your website, for example, you can send a survey that offers 10% off their next purchase in exchange for answering a few questions about how they found you and why they chose to buy from your store.

You can also leverage session replay and analytics tools to see which products, topics on your blog, and landing pages resonate the most with your shoppers.

This reveals:

  • What they care about
  • What page elements you can improve
  • Which items you should pair in product bundles
  • What recommended products to display to boost AOV
  • New products you can test out

Lower cost per acquisition

In the past five years, customer acquisition costs (CAC) have risen 60%, posing a new challenge for brands to overcome.

DTC marketing, however, can lower those expenses.

Going directly to consumers cuts out the middleman, whether it’s a retailer or another marketing channel (such as a paid newsletter placement) that gets between you and your buyers.

That not only lowers your acquisition spend but also lets you test new tactics and channels.

For example, the money you spend on Amazon seller fees, the percent of sales that go to a traditional retailer, and any Facebook selling fees can then go into driving shoppers to your main website and online store instead.

Protect your brand perception

Just like a physical store, your ecommerce brand’s image must be carefully curated to attract and retain shoppers.

DTC marketing gives you control of your marketing materials, how your brand is presented to your audience, and the presentation and placement of your actual products.

You avoid platforms and copy that cheapen your brand and ensure all of your communications stay on point.

In addition, your brand takes center stage rather than sharing the spotlight with competitors that shoppers can easily choose over you.

Marketplaces like Amazon, for instance, display the same product sold through multiple sellers, while the merchants are secondary pieces of info.

Often, you’ll see preference given to one seller with others hidden below the fold for a poor conversion experience by design.

More revenue opportunities

Image: Nomad Botanicals

Through DTC marketing, you have more chances to secure conversions, like through cross-selling and upselling with recommended product selections.

If shoppers aren’t ready to buy, you can capture their information instead to nurture a sale, deploy tactics to reduce cart abandonment, and so much more.

These tactics are harder to carry out when you don’t control the channel. You also have to go through a third party to try to recoup lost sales or grow your cart values.

Faster launches and iterations

Complete control over your marketing channels increases the speed at which your team launches campaigns for new products, announces special offers, and communicates with your audience.

Since DTC brands control design, messaging, and delivery channels (such as your store and landing pages), any new promotion can be launched and executed fully in-house and with complete control.

Along with direct access to your performance metrics, your team can also iterate more quickly based on what’s working and what’s not.

For example, they can:

  • Tweak email send times
  • Adjust phrases after seeing which ones generate the most engagement on social media
  • A/B test conversion elements on your website

Top DTC marketing channels

You can employ DTC marketing through multiple portals. Be sure to test various marketing channels to find which works best for you.

Social media

Social media is a powerful platform for growing an audience: On average, people spend 147 minutes a day on it, and its user base is estimated to grow to 4.89 billion in 2023.

Additionally, almost 28% of internet users aged 16 to 64 say they discover new brands, products, and services via social ads, meaning you can’t afford to overlook this platform.

It opens a direct line to your customers, and when they post or engage, it strengthens that personal connection with your brand.

Email marketing

Email marketing provides a rich (and cost-efficient) opportunity to reach a portion of the four billion daily email users across the globe.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, you can net an average return of about $45 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.

As further proof of its influence, 59% of surveyed shoppers said email marketing helped them make a purchasing decision, and 50% of customers have made at least one monthly purchase because of it.

Email newsletters are a great way to nurture your shoppers directly. By earning subscribers and growing your list, you build an audience you can reach out to personally.

SMS marketing

Image: Unsplash

Similar to email marketing, SMS marketing goes directly to your customers and can easily grab their attention because it leverages one of their most precious assets—their phones.

Asurion found Americans check their phones an astonishing 352 times a day—that’s once every two minutes and 43 seconds.

And besides being a more personal channel, people prefer SMS to talk to brands, with 70% of consumers choosing to receive texts from businesses in 2022.


Community marketing is when you build a community around your product, which can entail:

  • Creating a Facebook group
  • Monitoring and encouraging the use of a hashtag
  • Creating a portal or forum for your shoppers to discuss and meet others
  • Hosting in-real-life (IRL) meet-ups
  • And more

It both promotes activity among people with similar interests and strengthens your brand.

An online community can increase your engagement by up to 21% and positively impact your customer retention, sales, and SEO.

Content marketing

Content marketing leverages SEO to get your blogs and webpages in front of your shoppers at the right stage of their buyer’s journey.

It’s a good way to:

  • Introduce your brand
  • Help your audience solve problems and find relevant information
  • Encourage them to check out your product or sign up for your newsletter

Also, compared to outbound marketing, it’s 62% cheaper and generates over three times more leads.

Content marketing goes beyond blogs, too, encompassing whitepapers, ebooks, and other mediums. As an example, 56% of marketers say their most effective type of content is infographics.


Your website is your owned DTC channel.

It’s where your DTC transactions usually take place, so it’s imperative to optimize your site for the most conversions and customer retention.

For example, when someone checks out, do you prompt them to create an account so you can save their details and make it easier for them to return for a repeat purchase?

Since 14% of worldwide consumers use DTC websites to find inspiration and 15% to find products (suggesting notable attention during the purchasing stage), your website must be optimized for DTC marketing as well.

To fully leverage the power of your own website, invest in the tools and processes that enable you to quickly build targeted landing pages and custom product pages for conversion optimization.

#cta-visual-pb#Supercharge your most powerful DTC marketing assetCreate a website that engages shoppers, gets conversions, and keeps customers coming back for more.Start building for free


8 DTC marketing strategies to succeed online (with examples)

To better understand how you can enjoy the advantages of DTC marketing and maximize its various channels, here are some strategies and examples to take as inspiration.

1. Follow the data

Delve into data and analytics to understand your customers’ preferences and behaviors.

This lets you tailor your marketing strategy accordingly and present the appropriate messaging and products at the right time so your efforts resonate strongly with your audience.

Image: Stance

Stance, a producer of artistic performance socks, collects and analyzes product data to learn what consumers want, then base their designs on their findings.

By capitalizing on information, Stance knows whether or not a new design will be a hit—before release.

2. Lean in to social commerce

Use social media to sell products directly to customers and reach a larger audience.

You not only market and advertise your products to a multitude of people but also have the opportunity to engage with your target audience on their preferred platforms.

Image: Instagram

Hydration tablets brand Nuun leverages Instagram to sell directly and promote their offering to their audience.

Shoppers can browse and complete their purchases on the platform, streamlining their experience and eliminating the need to visit Nuun’s website.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Learn how Nuun boosted their ROAS by 275% with custom Shogun-built landing pages.

3. Partner with other brands for a wider reach

Collaborating with complementary brands to cross-promote products and reach each other’s audiences is powerful and stretches your exposure.

You and your partner could develop products together, for instance, and market them under your names.

Image: Rumpl

The outdoor blanket brand Rumpl maximizes collaborations by partnering with various brands and artists—such as Billabong, Carhartt, and Crystal Worl—for multiple limited product releases.

4. Create a bright palette

Make your brand stand out on social media by applying a distinctive color scheme and consistent branding elements.

Doing so helps your audience associate you with marketing materials that feature these characteristics and thus builds more recognition.

Image: ZitSticka

The skincare brand ZitSticka, for instance, uses light, yet bright color hues across their website, social media accounts, and packaging, which makes them easily recognizable.

It also creates an association between the color palettes and the company in their customers’ minds.

Image: Instagram

5. Educate your audience

Teach your customers about your products, their benefits, and how to use them, whether through blogs, videos, webinars, or in-person events.

This propels existing customers toward success with your offering and guides potential ones further along their journey.

Creating valuable, informative, and high-quality content can even establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Image: Olipop

Olipop, a manufacturer of probiotic sodas, does a great job of educating their website visitors with their dedicated Learn pages.

In the above image, readers are introduced to the brand through the educative lens of digestive health.

Image: Olipop

Olipop also breaks down the key ingredients they use, highlighting the benefits each one delivers.

6. Incorporate subscriptions

DTC selling and subscription services are completely different business models, but the two often work side by side.

And, with the global subscription ecommerce market expected to grow to $904.2 billion by 2026, venturing into it uncovers opportunities for growth and a source of recurring revenue.

Image: Cocktail Courier

For example, Cocktail Courier sells individual kits of their signature recipes.

To sweeten the pot, they also sell subscriptions where customers can experience the brand’s new creations every month.

7. Ask for referrals

Encourage existing customers to refer friends and family to your brand by offering incentives like discounts or rewards.

Leads from referrals have a 30% higher conversion rate than those who arrive from other marketing channels, as well as 16% higher lifetime values.


The materials science and sustainability brand PANGAIA incentivizes customers who refer a friend, rewarding them and their referees with, for example, a $25 discount for any $200 purchase.

PANGAIA further succeeds in giving referrers and their referees a sense of purpose (and encouraging more sales) by informing them of the earth-positive contribution every purchase makes.

8. Embrace conversational commerce

Conversational commerce involves using live chat, chatbots, social media, and SMS (among other formats) to interact with customers in a more genuine manner.

This approach lets you provide personalized and immediate support across different stages of your customer journey, improving engagement, satisfaction, and your conversion rates.

Live chat alone can make website visitors 82% more likely to convert to customers.

Image: Floyd Home

Furniture brand Floyd Home’s digital assistant is a great example of conversational commerce done well.

Although the brand uses an AI chatbot named Floyd, visitors are spoken to in a friendly and accommodating tone and guided quickly to solutions for common problems.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Want to get some more tactics? We’ve put together 13 powerful marketing strategies for Shopify to help you start scaling.

DTC marketing best practices to improve the customer experience

To supplement the above strategies, follow these best practices. They’ll help you magnify the effectiveness of your DTC marketing efforts.

Invest in your brand identity

Create a strong brand identity that represents your company’s values and mission. This will make you more recognizable and help fuel your DTC marketing activities.

Additionally, consumers prefer brands whose values align with their own, so building recognition around your principles and purpose will help you resonate with your audience and secure their loyalty.

Test your website UX

Continuously test and improve the user experience on your website to ensure a seamless shopping experience for every customer.

Your website should be easy to use once someone lands on it.

It should also be mobile responsive and work well on a variety of devices since people shop on their phones, tablets, and desktops:

  • For digital purchases, mobile devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets) have a 49.8% market share.
  • The remaining 50.2% take place on desktops.

Personalize your shopping experience

Leverage customer data to personalize the shopping experience and increase customer loyalty and engagement.

Personalization strengthens your DTC marketing and increases sales.

For example, HubSpot found that personalized calls to action (CTAs) convert 202% more than basic ones. Meanwhile, Epsilon discovered 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from you if you provide personalized experiences.

Push your nurture channels

Acquisition is great, but not everyone is ready to buy at first sight.

Capitalize on your nurture channels, such as email and SMS, to stay in touch and remind shoppers of your product at the right time. Doing so keeps them engaged and informed.

Focus on retention

Prioritize customer retention by providing exceptional customer service along with crafting personalized experiences for your existing customers.

Retention boosts your CLV and gives you a steady pool of shoppers. In fact, CLV increases rapidly once your retention rates hit 50% and higher.

Although DTC marketing is often used to get shoppers through your virtual door, retention stretches that investment further.

Keep an eye on your metrics

Avoid turning on “autopilot” mode once you’ve found a channel that works for your business.

You should always pay attention to key marketing metrics—like website traffic, customer engagement, and conversion rates—to see if one channel performs particularly well or poorly, then dig into why.

Your metrics will also reveal how healthy your retention is, which strategies you should invest more in, and whether your overall efforts are bearing fruit.

Discover growth opportunities through DTC marketing

DTC marketing enables companies to reach their customers directly, gather valuable data, and control the customer experience.

When employed strategically, it can launch your business to greater heights.

Though this category of digital marketing requires significant investment and research into your customers, the returns far outweigh the costs.

Take advantage of the various DTC marketing channels available, then develop and incorporate the strategies and best practices we’ve discussed in this article, and you’ll begin to see improvement in your business metrics.


#cta-visual-pb#Supercharge your most powerful DTC marketing assetCreate a website that engages shoppers, gets conversions, and keeps customers coming back for more.Start building for free

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