The Complete Guide to Ecommerce Skincare Marketing
One of the trends in the consumer market is the rise of skincare companies in the ecommerce world. Of course, skincare products themselves are not new and skincare marketing is everywhere. Similar to weight loss, “perfect skin” is one of those things people have sought out for decades. Everyone wants to have model-worthy skin and if they don’t, they’ll try (or buy) just about anything to achieve it. Because of that, this is a consumer need that will never go away.
If you are a skincare or makeup brand or are looking to break into that space, you probably know that competition is pretty fierce. How do you stand out in order to win?
We happen to support several skincare brands and have kept our eye on what works for years. In this post, we’ll share some of our top skincare marketing ideas and strategies to help make a name for your brand as well as acquire and retain customers.
What is popular with skincare marketing right now?
Skincare is a broad industry because every human needs it in some capacity. No matter a person’s age, gender, or skincare concern, there are products that could be relevant to them. With that in mind, the first way to find success in skincare is to “niche down”. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Determine what you can do well in this space, and then channel your skincare marketing to a target demographic who will use those specialized products and love them.
For example, “clean” skincare (meaning non-toxic, safe ingredients with thorough testing) is popular, as well as “vegan” or “cruelty-free”. This is a great step toward a specific space in the world of skincare and for a while, it would set you apart from other brands. But now that “clean” skincare has boomed in popularity, clean brands would do well to dial in their story and target customers even further. Does your brand’s rigorous testing set you apart? Makeup performance? Ability to treat tricky skincare concerns? Do you cater to a younger audience or a more mature one? Whatever you sell, you will need to find a unique angle in order to stand out.
Marketing Tip: What Are Your Customers Really Buying?
Answering this question will be an important mindset shift as you optimize your skincare marketing strategy. With any product, it’s important to ask ourselves “What is my customer really buying here?” In other words, what do they hope to achieve as a result of this purchase?
For skincare or cosmetics, the desired outcome is appearance-related, but what’s underneath that? Usually, it’s a desire for increased self-confidence or even a desire to please others, connect with others, or find and build relationships. For some, skincare is also about self-care. Some people invest in higher-end skincare because they love treating themselves to a spa-like routine at home. Whatever the case may be, sell those outcomes—not just the product.
9 Best Practices to Improve Marketing for Skincare Brands
Let’s unpack a few best practices that could help improve your skincare marketing strategy.
1. Niche Down
As we discussed at the beginning of this post, identify your brand’s unique position in the skincare space and determine who your target customers are. For example, your specialty could be clean beauty, it could be anti-aging skincare, or it could even be skincare specifically for men or teens.
Once you identify your niche, everything should flow from this— your story and messaging, how you interact with customers, where you advertise, and more.
This refers to brand positioning and product positioning. Will you appeal more toward millennials, Gen-Z, or boomers? Should your branding, messaging, and creative feel earthy, minimalist, luxurious, or rugged? Will packaging look professional and clinical or friendly and approachable? Cutting through the competition will require defining your space and staying true to it in your marketing.
3. Develop (or Refine) Customer Avatars
Do you know your customers as well as your friends and family? This is extremely important when it comes to crafting your message and designing creative. As you develop or refine your customer avatars (also referred to as “ideal customer profiles”), get more detailed than just gender and age. Think about your customers’ lifestyles, other brands they love, and skincare concerns they need a solution for. For example, are you serving women who want to age gracefully? Busy moms in need of a minimalist makeup routine? Teenagers struggling with acne or men who work with their hands?
4. Develop Your Brand Story
With the rise of ecommerce selling and shopping (especially over the last few years), customers have more options than ever before. The number one way a business can stand out and remain differentiated from everyone else in the market is through branding. Make sure your brand is sound and your story is communicated effectively through everything you do.
Hint: Having a good story doesn’t require you to be philanthropic or environmentally conscious (although that helps!) The key is just to make sure that you are a purpose-driven brand rather than a product-centric company.
5. Improve Your Product
This should be a given, but skincare is a space where your product needs to work VERY well. If you claim to promote certain results, customers need to see those results. Otherwise, it’s a fast path to upset customers and no repeat purchases.
To help customers get the most out of their products and see the best results, be sure to equip them with plenty of tips and tutorials. This education can be done through information on both the product pages, non-product pages, and post-purchase email sequences.
6. Gather Customer Reviews
The number one question a customer will be asking when looking at your skincare products is “Does this work?” This concern will be one of the top barriers to purchasing. That is why gathering as many customer reviews as possible is a must for building confidence and trust.
Use an ecommerce customer reviews platform such as Stamped or Yotpo and set up automated requests for customer reviews. You might also consider incentivizing customers to leave a photo or video review. These will do wonders for your conversion rate. Added bonus— customer reviews make great content to use in Facebook/Instagram ads and email marketing as well!
7. Utilize High-Quality Images
No matter what you’re selling, high-quality product images are an important element of the product detail page. But with skincare being an image-oriented business, those high-quality product images are even more crucial. The image you’re selling is what the customer is buying, so you’ll need great product photography as well as images of people modeling the product. Before and after photos are also helpful.
8. Go Contrarian
This could apply to marketing a variety of products, not just skincare. By “contrarian” we mean when everyone in your space is going one way, consider what it would look like to go the other. If it fits your brand and your story, there could be more opportunity for you in that opposite direction.
For example, most skincare companies push “anti-aging” messages. They market products that help you retain as much youth as possible, or reverse what aging has done to your skin. But a makeup brand called Boom by Cindy Joseph has taken a pro-aging path. Rather than trying to fix or erase signs of aging, they encourage women to embrace it. They offer makeup that works nicely for mature skin and they produce content that teaches women how to use makeup in a way that enhances their natural beauty at their current age.
9. Leverage Local Professionals, Influencers, and Affiliates
If a customer uses your products and has great skin to show for it, people are going to ask her what she is using. In fact, before they even ask, your customer may already be talking about it in person and on social media. Why not incentivize those social sellers to have those conversations? Social selling and influencer marketing are powerful for skincare, so do not miss out on starting an influencer or affiliate program. Depending on your product, there may also be opportunities to connect with dermatologists or other skincare professionals to sell your product in their offices. Commission-based relationships in a professional setting can work very well, especially because patients or clients will have trust established with the provider and will be likely to try what they recommend.
Ready to Apply These Skincare Marketing Ideas?
Skincare and cosmetics will never go away, but to “win” you’ll need effective products and smart marketing. With results-driven products as a baseline, dialing in your brand, imagery, and customer reviews, as well as differentiating yourself from others in the space will be incredibly important. If you’re a skincare brand and want help growing your business, reach out to us below— we’d love to talk with you.