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6 Tips for DTC Brands to Build Brand Awareness

Blog | Trend | June 17th 2020

Where do people go when they want to buy something? 

In the days of yore, they might have stopped by JCPenny or Sears for a new sweater. 

But we know these dinosaurs of retail aren’t the future. 

If anything, customers want to shop online. In fact, customers will spend $4 trillion in eCommerce just in 2020. 

This has led to a direct to consumer (DTC) eCommerce shopping renaissance. When you want shoes, you go to Allbirds. Glasses, to Warby Parker. Razors, Dollar Shave Club. 

But how do we develop this knee-jerk reaction that tells us, “Oh, I need toothbrush refills. Better visit the Quip store.” 

It comes from good ol’ brand awareness. When we have a need, we connect a solution to a brand, where we then spend our hard-earned money. 

As a brand, you want to create a knee-jerk reaction in your own shoppers. 

Now, you might think, “I’ve already got brand awareness. People are buying from me.” 

That may be true, but there’s always room for improvement. And even if you focus on things like product quality and service, customers can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist. 

Isn’t brand awareness just marketing fluff?

The tl;dr answer is no. 

When we pop the hood on brand awareness, it’s about helping customers recall your brand and use that brand information to buy something. Done right, brand awareness has a direct effect on your bottom line. 

Consumer brands need all the love they can get. Brand awareness shapes how customers perceive and remember you, persuading them to swipe right on your products. 

Brands often dismiss brand awareness campaigns because they’re hard to quantify. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible

Brand awareness isn’t about plastering your name everywhere, but marketing yourself with intention. 

Use these 3 boss-proof reasons to convince your team that brand awareness is worth its weight in gold. 

1 - Brand awareness creates valuable mental associations

Brand awareness makes it possible for customers to immediately associate their needs with your brand. 

That looks like: 

  • My mattress sucks. Oh, I should buy a Casper. 

  • I’m out of hand soap. Oh, I should sign up for Grove. 

  • I hate cooking all my meals from scratch. Oh, I should try Freshly. 

Brand awareness creates associations in your customers’ minds so that, when they’re ready to buy, they buy from you. 

2 - Take up more space. You’ve earned it. 

More and more brands are entering the DTC fray. 

That means what worked 5 years ago won’t work now (RIP, performance marketing).

As the DTC industry fragments more and more, you’re facing an uphill battle against the competition. It’s your job to get a bigger cut of that market. 


By winning the psychological battle for your customers’ hearts and minds. 

Brand awareness creates a positive perception of your brand, not only bringing more customers to your site, but increasing your order value and brand loyalty. 

3 - Boost consumer trust

Customers love shopping online, but they won’t trust your brand right out of the gates. CPG-focused companies need to prove you’re worth your salt before customers will buy. 

The thing is, humans trust the things we’re familiar with. The more familiar people are with you, the more likely they are to not only buy once, but become a loyal customer. 

6 strategies for smarter DTC brand awareness campaigns

But how do you do something like brand awareness? Isn’t all marketing a form of brand awareness? 

Yes and no. 

Remember, you have to shoot for brand awareness to see any real results. If you’re floating along without a strategy, you won’t see a boost in brand awareness. 

In our experience, these 6 strategies help eCommerce brands get more results for brand awareness. 

1 - Start a blog

Like it or not, blogs are still a great way to get shoppers to your site. But not just any old blog will do. 

Deliver a ton of value to your customers. Your content should be so good they’ll think, “ I can’t believe this is free!” 

Consider writing blogs like: 

  • How-tos with step by step instructions. 

  • Q&A interviews with experts in your industry. 

  • Opinion pieces. 

Not in the mood to write a blog yourself? No worries. 

Partner with an influencer in your niche to score relevant, engaging content—without the time-suck that comes with writing. 

Plus, you can ask this influencer to promote the blog as part of a bigger influencer campaign. Ask them to drive traffic to your blog from their channels, boosting your views and awareness in the process. 

2 - Create an influencer campaign

Oh, and speaking of influencers, you can ask these folks to do much more than a blog post. 

DTC brands are using influencers for brand awareness for one simple reason: it works. 

On average, you’ll see $7.65 in ROI for every $1 spent on influencers. Your customers trust influencers more, anyway, so they learn about your brand from a trusted source instead of directly from your brand. 

Not sure how to partner with an influencer? Ask them to: 

  • Review your product in an unboxing video. 

  • Share how-to videos and images of your product to their followers. 

  • Host a product giveaway on their social media. 

And you don’t need to scour Instagram to find these influencers, either. Trend’s platform is specifically designed to help DTC brands find influencers. 

Rely on Trend to get a shortlist of qualified, vetted influencers that you can choose for your campaign. 

3 - Use social media like a boss

Unless you live under a rock, you’re on social media as a DTC brand. 


But just because you’re on social doesn’t mean you’re killing it on social. 

Here’s what that should mean for your business: 

  • Be on the right platforms. If you aren’t on Instagram Shops, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Shops, get on them ASAP. 

  • Go where your audience is. Don’t post on Twitter if your customers aren’t on Twitter. Follow your followers and dedicate your energy where they are, not where they aren’t. 

  • Run Facebook Ads. Once you’ve set up Facebook Shops, run an Awareness campaign on Facebook. This campaign goal maximizes your advertising budget specifically for awareness. 

4 - Encourage UGC

Influencers are a goldmine of user-generated content. If you need lifestyle photos of your products and don’t want the hassle of scheduling a photoshoot, influencer UGC is the way to go

Use Trend to connect with content-minded influencers. Not only will they produce stunning, high-quality content, but this content will speak directly to your target audience’s needs. 

That means you get a double whammy of great content and an influencer’s stamp of approval, both critical ingredients for brand awareness. 

5 - Start a referral program 

Let your customers sell on your behalf. Set up a referral program to incentivize your happy customers to refer more business.

Referral programs are a powerful way to encourage word of mouth marketing, the most affordable and effective way to boost DTC sales

Create referral programs with features like: 

  • Custom referral URLs for your more active brand ambassadors. 

  • A percentage discount for both referring customers and their friends.

  • Creating a points-based system for customers to earn freebies or coupons. 

However you structure your program, make it easy for customers to evangelize your DTC brand. People are happy to promote brands they love in exchange for discounts!

6 - Measure your brand awareness

You’ve spent a lot of man-hours focusing on brand awareness. But have your efforts paid off? 

Brand awareness definitely has ROI, but it’s really hard to quantify those returns. 

However, you’ve still got to track the right data to prove your efforts are making an impact—and adjust your approach if they aren’t. 

Not sure how to measure your brand awareness? Ditch vanity metrics and dig deep with valuable metrics like: 

  • Site traffic data. Are you getting more traffic as a result of your awareness campaigns? You can even route that traffic to campaign-specific URLs to make your data cleaner. 

  • Social media engagement. Are more people sharing and commenting on your posts? 

  • Surveys and reviews. Do customers perceive your brand more positively now? 

  • Social listening tools. These tools, like Sprout Social, help you measure brand affinity and perception. 

Remember, brand awareness is difficult to measure, but as long as you pull a mix of both qualitative and quantitative data, you’ll see the big picture. 

The bottom line

DTC marketing is changing in 2020. There’s more competition, which means you have to be top-of-mind for your customers to move more product. 

Now’s the time to invest in a sustainable, long-term strategy to see you through the competitive mindfield that is the world of DTC marketing. 

Familiarize customers with your brand to forge an immediate, knee-jerk reaction that creates loyal customers. 

Isn’t it time to make an everlasting impact on your customers’ buying habits? 

Trend helps DTC brands dominate with ROI. Get a no-fuss demo to see how powerful influencer marketing is for brand awareness. 

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