How to Grow a Multichannel Beauty Brand

The beauty industry is a dynamic market, constantly fluctuating with changing fashions and trends. New products are engineered every day to surpass those already on the market, and good ideas are swiped or replicated just as frequently. To become successful as a beauty brand, you must be able to stand out amid the sea of competition. There are numerous opportunities for beauty brands to expand their selling and marketing channels — both traditional and unorthodox.

Social Media

Social media has become one of the most significant factors in brand awareness over the last few years. Any brand can skyrocket to fame and fortune if it appears in the right post or video at the right time. Social media influencers play a substantial role in the evolving trends of the beauty industry. Some wield power and influence over their followers that a brand could never purchase or develop by itself, so you must develop and nourish a partnership for mutual success.

An influencer might mention your cosmetic brand or product as part of a makeup tutorial or skincare routine. If this occurs, you can potentially have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of viewers see this video. Many viewers will buy a product simply because they want to use the same items a celebrity or influencer uses. This marketing reality can result in a huge spike in qualified traffic and sales from a single video. Influencer marketing has proven to be one of the largest game-changers in the cosmetics industry to date.

It is important to utilize as many social media platforms as possible (i.e. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more) for digital marketing purposes, brand awareness, and conveying your brand story. Your online presence can serve as its own influencer if you format and present it correctly. It provides the option for many skincare brands to highlight their stand-out qualities, such as a shade matching tool or a customizable color palette. Plus, you can feature the influencers you work with on your own channels too. 

Looking for some influencer inspiration? Check out our guide to TikTok for eCommerce businesses

Brand Story

Make sure your customers know what you stand for and what your brand represents. Individuality and uniqueness inevitably draws in customers. Your brand must convey a message or mission statement of some kind, as this can attract customers based solely on what your brand stands for. 

A solid brand story is a highly marketable commodity in an increasingly digital age. New companies sprout up every day, so you have to develop ways to set yourself apart. It’s highly beneficial for your brand to have a significant quality or feature that elevates your products above the competition. 

Vegan, organic, and cruelty-free cosmetics are in high demand. Since people want to know that what they are putting on their bodies is natural and safe, this trend is only going to grow. Plus, today’s consumers want to support companies that are ethical and care about the environment. If your cosmetics brand has any of these features, they should be at the center of your marketing and brand story. Mission-driven brands like Cheekbone Beauty, a sustainable beauty brand aimed at empowering Indigionous communities, are the way of the future. 

Multi-Channel Marketing

Marketing strategies have exploded in the last decade as social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram enabled a massive increase in communication and comparison. Effective marketing can influence the purchase decisions of your audience and build your beauty brand. Existing marketing channels include, but are not limited to:

  • Traditional Advertising (i.e. television, print, and direct mail) 
  • Social Media Advertising (i.e. Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram) 
  • OTT Advertising such as YouTube  
  • Billboard/Out of Home Advertising
  • Influencers
  • Search engine marketing: Google Shopping has both paid and no cost options to drive traffic to your listings through the Google platform. (i.e. Google Ads, Free Listings, and Buy on Google). You can learn more here and get started here.
  • Event marketing
  • Subscription boxes (i.e. offering samples to Birchbox subscribers)
  • Sponsored Product Campaigns with Amazon or Other Marketplaces 

Some of these channels prove more effective than others, so it’s up to you and your team to determine which marketing routes best cater to your target audience and represent your brand. Saturating multiple media formats with your beauty brand helps raise awareness and can introduce new products to the market. 

Digital marketing strategies such as social media advertising and employing/sponsoring influencers are among the most cost-effective marketing techniques for small businesses. Social media provides an easily accessible virtual window into your business, key products, and brand story. It also gives small businesses the opportunity to simulate or expand upon an existing storefront or physical location. 

Many brands have found success and grown their customer base through contests or giveaways, such as asking followers to tag three friends for the opportunity to win a new or popular product. Contests also build hashtag bases and consumer content as followers are asked to post an example of how they apply a specific product or look. With their permission, you can repurpose this content on your social media and marketing channels. Just be sure to tag/mention them and give them credit for the content they produced. 

Followers are more likely to pay attention to a content feed that features prizes and contests, especially when sprinkled in amongst quality application tips and products. There is an endless number of creative ways to draw in followers and highlight important products and milestones within your business.

Pro Tip: One impactful way to better market your beauty products and create a better customer experience is through custom packaging

Distribution Channels

It’s impossible to sell a product that customers can’t find or access. Your choice of distribution channels relies on a few different factors, such as your target audience and existing marketing channels. You should also be aware of shifting shopping behaviors if one distribution channel becomes more lucrative than the rest. Many societal developments can result in higher sales from a specific channel, and quick action allows your brand to surpass your competitors in the beauty industry.

Many brands continue to rely on stocking their products in brick and mortar locations, where customers can see and touch the product. This generally allows for better color matching, quality assurance, and the opportunity for your product to stand out beside similar products. 

Customers know they can visit a physical location, whether it’s your brand’s store or a third-party retailer, and almost always leave with the product they had in mind. This sale method appeals to a customer’s desire for instant gratification, since they won’t have to wait for their product to be shipped.

There is a much more comprehensive range of products available online, as web platforms are easier to construct than a store of your own or a partnership with a major retailer. Digital channels allow a company based in a city such as Seattle, Washington, to connect with a customer base in Miami, Florida. Many beauty brands have constructed fun, interactive websites, and widgets to improve their customer’s experience and add some flavor to an otherwise mundane online shopping trip.

Selling on Your Own Platform Versus a Marketplace

When considering how to jumpstart your beauty brand, an important decision is whether to remain exclusively on your own website, sell through social media, put your products on someone else’s Marketplace, or some combination of the three. Each method has its pros and cons, and what’s best for your brand ultimately depends on your unique selling points.

Pros of Using Your own Platform to Sell a Beauty Brand

Exclusivity

Using your own platform means that your product won’t have to stand out from other similar items. The only product on your eCommerce website or being sold to your social media channel will be something your brand produces. 

Control

Using your own platform means that you can set your own prices and don’t have to pay Marketplace fees or commissions. 

Flexibility

You remain in full control of product descriptions, advertising, sales, and deals. You can add or remove products at your own discretion, and can set your own timeline for product releases.

Cons of Using Your Own Platform to Sell a Beauty Brand

Lower Visibility

it’s hard to get found if nobody knows about your website, or if it’s difficult to find you by accident. You may have to rely on word-of-mouth advertising or go viral in order for people to discover you.

Higher Advertising Costs

You’ll have to fight harder to gain search volume if you’re available only on your own platform. There will be nobody accidentally finding you while searching for something else, and you won’t have as much opportunity to poach nearby search terms.

Pros of Using an Established Marketplace to Sell your Beauty Brand

Lower Cost of Advertising

When you sell your beauty products on an already established platform, you have the benefit of being accidentally discovered by shoppers. Someone searching for another brand might find yours and suggested items, gaining you visibility you would otherwise have to pay for. 

Less Management Overhead

Using someone else’s platform means that you don’t have to manage the nitty-gritty of a website. Someone else handles platform updates and software glitches while you just fulfill orders and worry about tweaking your product descriptions.

Cons of Using an Established Marketplace to Sell your Beauty Brand

Less Control

Many marketplaces run sales and discounts that you have no choice but to honor. This can cut into your bottom line, but you’ll have no choice if you want to remain on the platform. Some marketplaces may even dictate what you can charge for shipping or put in the product description.

Smaller Profit Margin

When using someone else’s marketplace to sell your items, you are subject to fees, commissions, and other charges as set by the platform. You may have to set your prices higher than you would like in order to make any profit. If this price point is considered too high for most of your consumers, your sales might suffer as a result.

Which method you use depends on what stage of brand growth you’re in and the unique need you have based on your product. Many sellers use both their own platform and third-party marketplaces to sell their items and do very well at it. Using multiple channels gives you the opportunity to compare their individual risks and benefits to decide where you’d like to focus more of your resources.

How Payability Can Help

It can be difficult for small businesses to secure traditional funding. It’s even harder if you’re only selling online. Plus, if you’re a beauty or supplement brand, there can be even more hoops to jump through to access traditional funding options.

However, due to the rapid growth of the beauty category on eCommerce channels such as Amazon, chances are you are going to need outside funding to grow your product line and keep up with demand. A healthy stream of cash flow and access to funding options also results in little to no stockouts and a better overall customer experience which can really set your brand apart. 

Payability’s Instant Advance and Instant Access programs can provide your beauty brand with fast funding in as little as 24 hours with no credit checks. Since approval is based on account health and sales performance, it’s totally frictionless.

Victoria Sullivan
Victoria Sullivan is a Marketing Manager at Payability. She has over eight years of social media, copywriting and marketing experience. Prior to joining the Payability team, Victoria developed social media content and strategies for top technology brands such as Skype and Samsung. She holds a degree in Advertising from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She can often be found in a yoga class or working on her fashion blog.

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