Going from 3 to 30+ in team size? Check.
Achieving more than 50x in growth? Double check.
Getting 20,000+ 5-star reviews from customers? Triple check.
If you have a digital DTC store, unlocking these milestones is difficult.
If you—a DTC business owner—are bewildered and thinking, ‘how do I make it happen for me?’, or simply looking for DTC marketing tips, this article is for you.
As part of our mission to provide an essential guide to DTC marketing, here you will learn about DTC best practices, the how's and why's behind:
- Building an active, dynamic community around a brand.
- Seeing & soaking in customer feedback when building a product.
… and a whole lot more so you can ultimately scale your DTC business & market your way to unprecedented, steady, positive growth for your DTC store.
Short on time? No problem.
We got you. 🥷
Finding Your Strengths in The Post-Pandemic Era
Kaus: What are your observations on the shift in consumer demand for health and fitness-related products in the last couple of years, including the post-pandemic world?
Srdjan: We have definitely seen big changes since over the past two-three years.
Before the pandemic, we had observed a lot of players coming into the connected fitness space, led by Peloton and a lot of look-alikes.
Although we had never branded ourselves as a connected fitness solution, we were definitely within the realm of a fitness solution, where our customers don't necessarily need a gym or a trainer. It's something that you can do on your own. When 2020 happened, we were well positioned as a great home workout option, and we had a pretty crazy 2020.
But a question remained…what happens in the ‘new normal’ era?
And I think we're still trying to answer that question because the demand for different types of health and fitness products and experiences has changed again.
It's been an interesting journey for us to figure that out in terms of where and what it's going to be like over the next couple of years. I do think at-home portable fitness experiences or connected digital fitness experiences have a place just like remote work. There's a hybrid mode that exists too. So the space for a fitness solution and experience that's convenient to do within any type of busy schedule will always exist, allowing us to be useful and retain our robust positioning.
Early Challenges and Strategies
Kaus: What were some of the initial challenges for growth at Crossrope when you joined?
Srdjan: I think one of the biggest challenges in the the early days was educating people around weighted jump ropes.
A lot of time was spent explaining what the Crossrope workout experience really is, and what it's like to use it, and we accomplished the goal via personal interactions and putting out content on all our existing marketing channels and communications.
Amongst others, category creation was hard as well.
Coupled with early consumer education and how to do it best (what sort of visuals or videos to use to amplify education), getting customer testimonials and conducting case studies were few of the early challenges.
With continuous experimentation, we found our solutions as well as the right voice + tone. Slowly, we also found systems that worked best for tasks like marketing automation among others, helping us accelerate our marketing efforts.
Understanding the Power of Great Content & Community
Srdjan: First, concentrate on building the category, (in our case it was the jump rope fitness category), then define what you want to be known for, and pull in all efforts and energy into positioning yourself as the leader of that specific category in the market.
Part of our early success came with creating free and valuable content such as the 30-day fitness challenges through which we could educate and engage with people.
We also focused on creating a ton of value-adding content like 30 days of workouts and nutrition guides that we promoted aggressively via Facebook groups.
Here, we could bring people together to do the challenges and workouts alongside people from all over the world. Amidst it all, Crossrope became just a mechanism or a tool that they did not have to use if they did not want to. But once they’d join the community and see others using it and hear them talking about it, eventually new community members would want to try it too.
Notice how the community was created around the challenge and the challenge was to get fit v/s about how to use Crossrope to get fit.
Initially it wasn’t about the product—it was about people coming together around a common interest or a common problem that they were trying to solve, and eventually it led to where we are today now.
Again, it’s never easy to cater to a hundred thousand people who are all at different fitness levels, belonging to different age groups with varied experiences using the Crossrope, but just try to do the best you can.
Most of our marketing & community-building efforts were targeted at bringing people to our Shopify site. Whereas Amazon or Facebook marketplaces were present for product discovery purposes and serving customers on these sites, our goal was to drive customers to our site and digital community so we can market the product organically.
How Crossrope Found Their Community
- Signup invitation in email
- Landing page
- After signing in, invitation to join Crossrope community/Facebook group.
Crossrope's Key Marketing Learnings
Focus on the Customer's Problem
Let the product grow organically as the solution for the customer’s problems. In the initial-run, invest in advertising the problem, not the product.
Build value-adding, educational content consistently around the problem to keep the community engaged and active.
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
SEO is your greatest ally—optimize all content produced based on relevant keywords.
Make Full Use of all Avenues of Content Marketing
From affiliate marketing to influencer marketing, podcasts, sponsored newsletters, SMS’s, Youtube advertising and more, play around to arrive at what works best for you.
Pay Attention to your Website Strategy
Leverage tools like subscription, members-only access to community, product bundling and keep adding value-enhancing services to get people coming back for more.
Insert interactive visuals
Use GIFs or motion graphics that demonstrate/educate customers about the problem and its solution across various sales touch points.
Think of unique, creative ways to make a point about your product and its benefits.
Srdjan's content tool recommendation for D2C brands on Shopify: 🧨VideoWise 🧨
Evaluating Customer Feedback
Kaus: How did you generate such a massive amount of customer reviews and how are you leveraging it today?
Srdjan: Simply put, you just got to have a great product.
Dave (co-founder) and the whole product development team have done a fantastic job.
The product is re-engineered and redesigned every couple years to its smallest detail. We're very focused on the experience we want to offer, so we're able to build that into a great product and it reflects in those reviews.
Few ideas that one can put to use with customer reviews is to literally copy and paste the review messages (with permission) for ads, and it works really well.
Don’t forget to keep digging for what did not work in the less-than-4 star reviews and understand where the gap is. There are a lot of gold nuggets that you can pull from that.
You can either follow up with the customers or just try to at least spot patterns for what they're saying and then use it to your advantage.
We also utilize customer testimonials and reviews to increase conversions within our store funnel, and often, for recategorizing our product.
The DTC Growth Stories is an essential guide to dtc marketing, helping digital store owners learn how to scale and pave their way to success.
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