Beauty And Brains: Four Ways Cosmetics Companies Are Mastering Digital Marketing

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From pyramid walls, we know that cosmetics have a history that stretches back to before 4000 B.C. So, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the industry is sometimes a bit slow to adapt to changing times.

Nonetheless, some cosmetics companies have clearly learned how to make online marketing their competitive edge.

When I was a makeup artist working my way through college, online shopping was still a new concept. The vast majority of women seeking beauty products headed to the department store, not a nearby screen.

Today, a number of cosmetics companies are making big waves — transforming the entire industry.

Drawing insights from my cosmetology roots, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the industry’s top cosmetic brands that have been using our software to publish their catalogs on digital shelves across the web over the last decade. From my perspective, every single one of these companies has succeeded by carving out a distinct user experience, from a famously racy “orgasm” makeup line, to a celebrity tattoo artist’s edgy tattoo-inspired eyeliners, to a whimsical and glam-era brand born out of solving real beauty problems.

Digital Makeovers Are Happening

There are countless ways a cosmetics company could implement improvements to gain a major advantage over their competitors.

Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, for example, known for her uber-luxurious line, invites users to choose the look they want and then learn which products will help them achieve it. Or, you can “spin the wheel” and receive a suggestion at random. The brand also launched the “Tag Your Tilbury” campaign, leveraging user-generated content. Pictures of women wearing the brand’s products are great for social proof, but they’re also accompanied by links to the actual products, making it easy for customers to purchase the same look. Furthermore, the brand’s ads are segmented, broken down by the needs of customers: acne, dry skin, pigmentation, spots, visible pores.

Like Charlotte Tilbury, meticulous thought was put into the design of Fenty Beauty’s site. Fenty, a client of ours, has received positive press for its dedication to inclusion, readily apparent on its product pages — 40 models are used to display every shade of every single product the company offers. The social media presence of its founder, Rihanna, has likely played a large part in the brand’s success as well.

While much of what makes for an effective marketing campaign in the cosmetics industry applies to other industries, there are definitely some unique angles that need to be considered when it comes to this market.

Four Ways Your Cosmetics Brand Can Master Digital Marketing

1. Site Operation

Site speed is always a factor. Users hate slow sites. Most won’t even bother with one that takes a few seconds to load.

Because of the visuals-heavy nature of cosmetics, though, site speed is even more important in this industry. Successful sites can’t struggle to load all the images, videos and interactive displays necessary to show off products in vibrant colors.

The same goes for all the other content, too. To pull ahead, cosmetics companies must employ user-friendly guides to ensure customers are confident in their purchases. They must also understand the importance of helping shoppers sort and filter based on their unique traits (e.g., skin tone, problem areas, etc.).

2. Digital Marketing

Similarly, the cosmetics companies that are often winning the most traffic know that segmentation is essential. They’re not wasting money on casting wide nets. They understand their markets, understand their problems and know where to find them to prove they have the solutions.

Even smaller companies should consider hiring search engine optimization (SEO) managers and getting specific with email marketing, including customization, smartphone optimization and monitoring all the applicable analytics (e.g., open rate).

3. Social Media Marketing

Influencer marketing is continuing to grow in popularity and, in my opinion, few industries offer greater proof than cosmetics.

Small companies are borrowing much bigger voices on social media platforms like Instagram and through a veritable army of makeup video bloggers (vloggers) on YouTube. While many large companies still spend a fortune on celebrity endorsements, these “indies” are building their brands with social media personalities their markets trust.

When employing an influencer-driven approach to reach digitally savvy shoppers, what’s more important than the size of one’s following is the level of your audience’s engagement as well as having a voice and personality that are aligned with the company’s own branding.

4. Mobile-Friendly Functionality

Finally, digital marketing without an emphasis on the need to be mobile-friendly is dead in the water.

In the cosmetics industry, though, this means more than just having a site that’s responsive. It also means placing visually appealing images above the fold, so users see them right away. It requires retooling product pages, so shoppers have an easier time considering all their options on a smaller touchscreen. The same goes for making it as easy as possible to place their orders.

Every industry has its big names, which can often seem like immovable objects when it comes to marketing. However, brands like Charlotte Tilbury have proven that the digital world offers an amazing opportunity to step out of the giants’ shadows.

Those that want to keep up need to take notice or risk getting left in their wake.

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