A few months into the Covid crisis, and we’re finally getting our bearings. It’s been a time of experimentation as companies pivot to remote work environments, brick-and-mortar businesses find ways to market online, and consumers adjust to what we’re reluctantly referring to as the “new normal.” At MarketerHire, we’ve been checking in with a series of successful marketers to find out what’s been working for their businesses—and what they’re recommending to clients. Most recently, we caught up with Aneesha Rao, who heads up Growth at Coop Home Goods, and has previously worn multiple marketing hats, founded a company, and worked for and with organizations like Google, Outdoor Voices, Betabrand, Capital One, and more. “If a business owner is struggling with their sales volume, a natural, immediate reaction is to panic,” Rao acknowledges. “There are bills, contractors, and employees to be paid—the first focus is quite understandably on survival. Business owners can take this opportunity to find ways to pivot to creating a business optimized for the digital landscape.” So what are some ways that brands can transition to having a strong digital presence in the current climate? Rao has some suggestions for making an impact in this moment. Coop has been doing extremely well of late, a fact that Rao attributes partially to their category, and partially to some smart choices and innovations they’ve implemented. “We’ve seen an increase in sales across the board,” Rao says. “People are focused on the home right now, and there’s a desire for normalcy, so we’re seeing that translate to growth across platforms.”
For smaller DTC brands, now is a great time to invest in digital advertising
If you’re a DTC brand offering a product that people may be interested in this summer, now is the time to double down on your ad spend. “I’ve noticed primarily enterprise companies pulling back,” Rao says. “We’re seeing lower CPAs and CPCs, so we’re witnessing a pretty solid market, as far as digital advertising goes. This is the way that you connect to people: advertising works for a reason, and it’s the foundation that powers all technical platforms for a reason. It’s about connecting the right person to the right product.”
Think in a less linear way about your blog
“Blogs are great, but I think most companies aren’t approaching blog content with the right creative mindset,” Rao says. Rather than keyword-stuffing, writing for SEO, or being overtly sales-y, Rao recommends providing actually high-quality content that people genuinely enjoy. “Sure, headlines can be created with SEO in mind, but remember that blog content is going to be read by a human being. Great content is like great art—it should excite, inform, or move you in some way.” It may seem counterintuitive, but people distrust being sold to—so if you decouple sales from the content and develop a more subtle blog approach, you can actually drive more sales.
Connect with consumers directly
“Consumers appreciate anything you can do on your site to extend the digital experience to the physical,” Rao says. “This can look a lot of different ways—whether it means sharing more content or connecting the founder to the business.” One innovation that Coop has found a lot of success with: their "Chat with a Sleep Expert" feature, in which anyone can schedule a 30-minute sleep consultation to help them get better rest. At a time when sleep problems like insomnia are peaking, this is a brilliant, solution-oriented offering that clients are responding to very positively. “Any customer can go on the site and talk to a sleep expert, Tami, who is amazing,” Rao says. “I think customers are especially loving it because they’re talking with someone face-to-face.” By offering genuine help, personalized service, and human interaction, Coop is creating positive associations with their brand and driving sales—without feeling sales-y. It may be a good idea for other DTC brands to consider what variation on the theme they might want to offer clients. In a time when people are stressed about money, free offerings and personal connection are a great way to build your brand.