Have you ever seen a Facebook ad for Chanel? Or an Instagram ad for Lamborghini?
Me neither. That’s because luxury marketing strategies don’t follow the same rules as mass-market brands.
Selling to high-end consumers requires a different approach. But that doesn’t mean popular digital channels are off-limits.
SEO, PPC, even some social media sites can drive online sales for your luxury brand.
Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to take your luxury brand online with the best luxury marketing strategies.
What Qualifies as a Luxury Brand?
Gucci, Rolex, Ferrari. For the most part, you know luxury brands when you hear them.
But what does it take for a brand to qualify as a luxury? In my opinion, it’s down to the three Es: Expensive, Excellent, and Exclusive.
Luxury products are synonymous with high price tags. This is the most common indicator of luxury, but it is also the most misleading. Just because something costs thousands of dollars doesn’t mean it’s luxury.
That’s why luxury products also need to be excellent. The quality has to match the price tag. Good doesn’t cut it in the luxury category; a brand has to be at the very top of the market.
Luxury fashion is created by the best designers in the world. The best engineers create luxury cars. Ditto for timepieces.
Finally, luxury products have to be exclusive. It’s not a luxury product if everyone has one. Often, exclusivity is achieved by price. A ten thousand dollar handbag is well out of reach of the majority of consumers. But brands can also achieve exclusivity by selling a limited number of products. Or they can do both, like Supreme.
Luxury Marketing Trends
According to Statista, the global luxury goods market will increase from $285.1 billion in 2020 to $388 billion in 2025.
Despite what you might think, online sales of personal luxury goods are growing, too. McKinsey estimates 8% of all luxury sales are made online or around €20 billion. That’s a five-fold increase from 2009. What’s more, the majority (almost 80%) of purchases made in-store are influenced by digital.
The consultancy expects online luxury sales to triple by 2025 when almost one in five personal luxury sales will happen online.
Digital channels will be essential for luxury brands going forward. The pandemic hit department stores hard and forced luxury consumers to buy online more than before.
BCG predicts the e-commerce boom will continue in the future both for inspiration and for transactions.
Going digital will also be key to meeting today’s new luxury consumers and those of tomorrow. Millennials, who are entering their peak earning years, and Gen Z, many of whom are just entering the workforce, have grown up in the digital era and expect brands to have an online presence as high-quality as their products.
All that’s to say: digital marketing must be a key part of a luxury brand’s strategy going forward.
Luxury Brand Marketing Strategies
Here’s the thing, luxury marketing isn’t synonymous with digital marketing…yet.
Until now, luxury brands have been able to rely on full-page ads in premium magazines, billboards in duty-free stores, and high-end, high budget TV ads.
Not any more.
To survive in the increasingly competitive luxury space and attract new customers, luxury brands must understand what the luxury consumer wants from a brand and how digital can help them get there.
From SEO to PPC, apps to AR, there are loads of marketing strategies to explore.
Understand the Luxury Customer
The first step in developing a luxury marketing strategy is to understand your audience. Enter buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal consumer. It will include their age, demographic, job, hobbies, salary, and anything else relevant. The more detail you can include, the better.
Here’s an example of a luxury consumer persona from Stella Rising.
Keep in mind; you may not have just one buyer persona. If several different groups of people buy your products, you’ll need to develop a buyer persona for each of them.
Detailed buyer personas help your brand understand precisely who your customers are and what they want from your brand.
They will allow you to better communicate with your customers and focus your marketing efforts.
Develop Your Digital Luxury Marketing Strategy
Now you understand who your customers are and what they want from your brand, you can build a marketing strategy that will drive results.
Start by thinking about the channels you want to target. This could be a social media platform you want to pay particular attention to; it could be Google; it could even be a custom app.
Focus on one or two to start with, particularly if your luxury brand is new to digital marketing.
Next, define your goals. This may be increasing brand awareness, but a better and more measurable goal is an increase in sales. (It’s also easier to measure sales increase.)
Finally, work out how you’re going to measure your success. If you’re going to use SEO to increase revenue, for instance, find out how much revenue Google and Bing are responsible for right now. If you don’t already have Google Analytics tracking in place, now’s the time to set it up.
Experimental vs. Traditional Marketing
Most marketers are aware of traditional luxury marketing tactics. Full-page ads in premium magazines or weighty direct mail pieces are a luxury marketer’s bread and butter.
But those strategies won’t cut it in an increasingly digital world.
Many brands consider digital marketing experimental in itself. But I urge luxury brands to go beyond standard digital marketing tactics and explore more experimental channels.
One option is a brand app. Apps offer brands a way to speak to users directly through their smartphones. Your app could be as simple as a mobile responsive version of your website.
Or you could take things even further by integrating augmented reality features. Burberry, for instance, has launched an AR shopping tool that lets consumers see Burberry products in their surrounding environment.
Chanel has combined offline marketing with digital marketing in a holiday popup event at The Standard in New York. An AR app, which could be accessed on the Chanel website or via Snapchat, brought the popup to life.
Role of Loyalty in Luxury Marketing
Luxury brands have loyal consumers. This is important because the more loyal your customers, the less marketing you have to do.
Rather, you need to turn consumers into fiercely loyal brand advocates. One way to do that is through the quality of your products. Another way is through the quality of your marketing.
You can also partner with influencers on social media channels. Influencer marketing is incredibly cost-effective and, if done well, can put your brand in front of the right kind of consumers.
Just make sure to find influencers who already operate in the luxury space and whose audience buys the products they promote. Aspirational jet-setting influencers are a dime a dozen.
You want to work with the few who have the audience to back it up. Otherwise, you won’t see results.
Develop a Targeted Luxury Marketing Keyword Strategy
Whether you’re running an SEO campaign or a PPC campaign (or both), I recommend developing a highly targeted luxury marketing keyword strategy.
Start by targeting high-conversion keywords. Sure, attracting consumers in the research phase of their journey is important. But for the sake of your ROI, you’re going to want to target consumers who are ready to purchase.
The CPCs of luxury marketing terms can be expensive, given the competition and the price of products.
Try to advertise as the “top watch maker” on Google, and you’ll pay $80 per click. Ouch.
Or $50 to advertise as one of the best luxury compact cars.
You’ll also need to make careful use of your negative keyword list.
Unless you’re using negative keywords, you aren’t really in control over what terms your brand will appear. The last thing you want is for ads for your luxury brand to start showing up in searches containing “discount,” “sale,” or “free.”
The kind of consumer that clicks on those ads won’t match your buyer persona. Here’s how to add negative keywords to your ads.
Luxury Marketing Content Campaigns
A huge part of luxury marketing revolves around storytelling. Whether it’s the history of your brand or the craftsmanship of your products, you probably have a lot to say.
What should you write about exactly? Well, apart from telling your brand story, I recommend using long-form content to help consumers find the right product for them.
Buying a luxury product is often a big decision, and consumers research their choices thoroughly before committing. Buying guides put your brand front and center for consideration while providing value and establishing a relationship even before the purchase has been made.
This is a strategy my team at NP Digital adopted for a prominent jewelry retailer that wanted to increase online sales.
We wrote a comprehensive piece of content about finding the perfect engagement ring that helped traffic from search engines to grow from 20% of all traffic to 30% of all traffic in the first six months of our partnership.
Your content can continue to add value for customers after purchase. Detailed guides on using and caring for luxury products make for excellent blog posts that can increase brand loyalty while attracting even more consumers.
Use the keywords you’ve discovered above to guide your content creation process. You’ll want to make sure there’s some form of content for every key term, whether that’s a category page, a blog post, or something else entirely.
SEO For Luxury Brands
Search engines are massive traffic drivers for luxury brands and play an important role in both the research and purchase phase of the consumer journey.
Yet, they are consistently undertilized by luxury brands. It doesn’t help that luxury brands tend to have poorly designed (but very good looking) websites and a lack of content for Google to crawl.
The more time and effort you devote to understanding and implementing SEO, the more revenue your store should generate. For instance, we increase the revenue of our luxury jewelry client by 21% through SEO.
Luxury marketing can no longer be confined to TV channels, billboards, and glossy magazines. Now is the time to take your luxury brand digital and invest in SEO, PPC, and whatever social media your consumers use.
So here’s my question to you:
What will be the first digital channel you use to promote your luxury brand?
You don’t need to have a “Eureka!” moment to come up with a great business idea. You can easily come up with great ideas if you ask yourself the right questions.
More people are interested in entrepreneurship than ever before. Everyone gets stuck at “coming up with a good idea.”
One problem I see is people want to create copycat products that aren’t any different from the incumbents. Or they want to make the same thing, but just do it cheaper.
My friend mentioned he wanted to start a protein bar company. They’re consumable, easy to put on subscription model, and decent margins.
The problem is they’re kinda competitive.
I asked him what his bars are going to be like?
“Tastes great, low sugar, high protein, and high fiber.”
My immediate reaction: “How are you going to compete against Quest and all the other protein bars that promise the exact thing?”
You need to solve problems, and you need to solve them in a different way than everyone else.
I’m going to walk you through the brainstorming session I had with him. He’s not pursuing this industry anymore so maybe one of you guys can do something with it (and hook me up with protein bars!) You can approach ideation in a systematic manner. Take the question and framework that I’m using, and use to brainstorm ideas for yourself.
1. What Demographics Aren’t Being Served?
I started getting into skincare when I saw my first wrinkle. I went off to Walgreen’s. And went straight to the men’s aisle and saw my options. I didn’t understand why my facial lotion had to be “extreme.”
Later on, I learned that there’s really no difference between men and female skincare. I’m paying extra for it to smell like trees. You see this in all industries. Women pay something called the “Pink Tax.” You can take this mentality and create a brand around demographics.
You can formulate the protein bars to serve the demographic better. Add some cartoon images for the kids. Older women will be attracted to bars with collagen in them.
2. What’s the Next Diet Trend?
Here are the guarantees in life: Death, Taxes, and a new diet trend.
Keto is the hot diet right now. A few years ago, PerfectKeto came in and crushed it. They have supplements and protein bars designed to help people with their Keto goals. Going vegan is becoming more popular. There are plenty of vegan protein bars out there.
These two markets are probably too competitive right now for you to enter. Do some research into what the next diet trends are. Here’s what I found:
There’s an increasing demand for diets that boost immunity. You can guess why.
Another diet trend is the DASH diet, which is focused on preventing heart disease and lowering high blood pressure. It’s based on restricting the amount of sodium.
Understand the needs of the diet, and formulate appropriately.
3. What’s a Unique Ingredient with Proven Benefits?
The right ingredient can provide a benefit, and differentiate your product from everyone else’s.
What is one unique ingredient that you can add to your bar? How does that benefit help?
Four Sigmatic pioneered the mushroom movement for supplements and coffee. There’s a trend towards people realizing the power of mushrooms.
Exo Protein is using Crickets. There’s a trend toward sustainability. Crickets are the world’s most sustainable protein.
I would research other sources of “weird” protein. Research other cultures. Look at the “past” for inspiration. Bulletproof made butter in coffee popular, but it has existed for thousands of years in Tibet. Chia seeds are popular now with suburban moms, but Peruvians have been eating it for thousands of years.
What other insects could be good sources of protein? You could do an ant, beetle, or grasshopper based protein bar.
Think about how large the “collagen” protein industry has become. What’s the next collagen?
4. What Flavors Are Popular, but Aren’t Utilized Yet?
This one’s inspired by Ben & Jerry’s. I’m looking at protein bars, and they tend to fall into the usual flavors: vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, cookie dough, cookies and cream, etc. What other interesting flavors can you come up with? Here are a few ideas I have.
Ethnic based. Could there be protein bars that are Indian, Japanese, or Brazilian flavored?
Cereal. When I lived in New York, I loved getting cookies by Milk Bar. Their signature flavor was “cereal.” I wonder if there are any protein bars inspired by our favorite cereals. This could invoke a nostalgia play.
Popular Existing Flavors. What are the top ice cream flavors out there? Which ones aren’t served by protein bars?
Unique flavors are powerful because they encourage repeat purchases. If someone’s a fan of one flavor, they’re going to want to try them all. And for first time buyers, offering a “variety pack” of all flavors will do well.
5. How Can I Deliver the Protein in a Different Way?
Protein bars come in the same standard, rectangular shape.
There’s a market for delivering the protein in a different form.
The first method would be to offer different packaging. Peanut butter usually comes in a jar. Superfats packages peanut butter as on-the-go snacks.
Another idea is to not limit yourself to bars. People want protein. What other forms can you deliver protein in?
Protein peanut butter
Protein peanut butter cups like Reeses
Protein rice cakes
Protein ice cream
6. What Are the Biggest Problems with Protein Bars?
My favorite protein bar is RXBAR.
I’ve always wondered what kind of “crap” companies put into protein bars. RXBAR makes a bold promise on their packaging.
These are their ingredients. That’s it. There was a “transparency” problem with protein bars, and they fixed it.
What other problems could there be with protein bars? The easiest way is to research popular protein bars on Amazon. What are people complaining about in their reviews? I did some research and came up with some ideas:
Someone wants a bar that’s easier to digest. They get upset stomachs whenever they eat one. Create one that’s plant-based and high in fiber.
Someone loves to take their protein bars on hikes, but it gets crushed and melted easily. The bars are individually wrapped in a harder plastic.
7. How Can I Make Protein Bars More Functional?
I’m assuming most people eat protein bars as a convenient and healthy snack. What if the protein bar could contain ingredients that help them serve a specific purpose?
Survival Bar: People are into “survival” and emergencies more than ever because of COVID-19. Create one that’s designed to last longer than traditional. Their bars last for a year, ours is designed to last for a decade.
Sleeping Protein Bars: Some people have trouble falling asleep at night. It could be because they’re going to bed hungry. What if there was a protein bar designed to help you sleep. It’s easy to digest and has some sleep aid ingredients such as L-theanine.
Focus Bars: Contains Nootropics and caffeine. A better alternative to coffee and energy drinks. They help you focus and keep you full!
The Beauty Bar: Eat this protein bar to improve your skin. It’s full of collagen and retinol.
8. How Can I Create an Aspirational Brand Story?
People love stories.
I was broke in college, and I needed a notebook. There was the generic one for $5. Next to it was the $20 Moleskine.
I went with the Moleskine even though I couldn’t afford it. This was the journal of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Ernest Hemingway. Maybe writing in this notebook would help me become more creative. Buying it increased my sense of identity. Think about what tribes would buy a protein bar and who they’d aspire to be like.
Viking Protein Bars: Crossfitters and Tough Mudders think they’re warriors. When the Vikings went to war, they brought along protein bars. These protein bars are based on ancient recipes.
Louis and Clark Bars: Hikers want to be like Louis and Clark. These protein bars were inspired by a recipe found in one of their journals.
Military / Patriot bars: I don’t need to do a search to know that there are military and patriot inspired protein bars out there.
There’s who the customer is now, and there’s who the customer wants to become. The customers buy products to help them feel connected to their end goal. It’s why some people are willing to buy Louis Vuitton even though they can’t afford it. It’s what they aspire to be like.
You Have More Ideas Than You Think
I haven’t always been in business ideation mode.
But I have spent over a decade generating angles and headlines. I’ve learned that the easiest way to generate ideas is through questions and formulas. 4 Profitable Headline Formulas Angle Generation System With this article, I wanted to show how I’d approach a competitive industry such as protein bars. One more note: don’t be scared if your product already exists. Apple didn’t create the first smartphone. Execution is more important.
Please rate this article – it helps me know what to write!
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