How To Sell Skincare Products Online: Do’s and Dont’s

Ecommerce, Paid Media Advertising, Social Media

You’ve created a new line of skincare products. You’ve built an e-commerce site on which to showcase them. You did the research, saw the customer need, and you went out and met that need. You’re a dynamo!

But how do you let your customers know about these amazing skincare products you’ve created just for them? How do you catch their attention, show you’re better than the rest, get them to make that initial purchase – and drive loyalty for repeat business? You’ve come to the right place.

When it comes to selling those skincare products online, there are two main factors you need to consider and control.

1) Branding. This piece is often overlooked – but is the crucial first step before you begin to market your beauty products. How are you perceived? How do you want to be perceived? What is your brand voice? What are/will you be known for? How do you want customers to feel about you and your products? Who is your ideal customer?

2) Marketing. You have the product. You have the voice. You’ve created the customer experience and a remarkable brand. Now, how do you bring in customers? This is the “beauty” that is marketing. From grass-roots marketing to traditional organic and cutting-edge paid efforts – this is your plan of action.

Let’s dig into both of these factors – going deeper than skin-deep (get it?). We’ll discuss the specific dos and don’ts of skincare branding, skincare marketing strategy, and everything you need to know to start selling your products online. Whether you’re a newly launched company or a trusted skincare expert, we can help your brand become a stunning stand-out in the beauty industry.

Selling Skincare Products Online – Skincare Branding Dos

Skincare Branding Do: Know Your Audience

What’s the most important thing in any good strategy for selling skincare? Knowing your audience!

  • What are their habits and their likes/dislikes?
  • Where are they in their lives/which Milestones are they reaching?
  • How does your product/brand fit with their lifestyle?
  • What do they need from a beauty product?
  • Which are their main skincare concerns?
  • Which other products are they interested in?

Get to know them on a multi-dimensional level. Also realize that you don’t have just one target customer. Your customers represent a wealth of different backgrounds and come to you with a variety of concerns. This is where brand personas can come into play. Build several personas – each representing a target customer. Structure your site, write each piece of content, and evaluate your progress as if you are addressing one of these customers. These personas should be based on research and should help you to create content that starts and extends the conversation about your brand – in a way that is meaningful for customers.

Skincare Branding Do: Meet Their Needs (Solve A Problem / Provide A Service)

Just like a beautiful face starts with healthy skin, a well-loved brand starts by meeting a consumer need!

It’s imperative for a new or growing brand to ensure that their primary focus is their customer – that helping the customer / making their life easier – is at the heart of every process and transaction.

That said, the brand should always aim to provide a service to the customer or solve a problem. To do this, get to know their concerns. Yes, they are looking for skincare. Are they worried about acne, redness, dryness, aging? Ask these questions, and then make it easy for them to access the solution – your phenomenal products!

It’s important to remember that many customers have more than one skincare concern, so if you can structure your site to allow them to filter for multiple concerns, you can streamline their experience.

Skincare Branding Do: Know What Sets Your Brand Apart

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So how do you make your products “beautiful” to your current and potential customers? Emphasize what makes you unique – your Unique Selling Proposition.

  • What do you offer that no one else does?
  • What benefits can they get from you that they just can’t get elsewhere?
  • What about your products make them the best fit for your target customers?
  • What about your customer service experience is unparalleled?

Research your competitors – define what sets you apart – and ensure that your messaging emphasizes this, so that your value comes through loud and clear.

Skincare Branding Do: Build Trust And Credibility

Successful branding and skincare marketing can really come down to customer relationships. Those relationships flourish when you build credibility and maintain trust. So how do you start? Build credibility by establishing yourself as an industry leader.

Build credibility by establishing yourself as an industry leader.

  • You want to be seen as someone your audience can turn to for their skincare concerns, questions, qualms, and struggles.

Publish content that showcases your expertise.

  • Use blogs and newsletters that demonstrate how each product helps a specific skincare concern or set of concerns.

Don’t make every piece of content overtly salesy.

  • You want to earn their trust so that, when they’re ready to make a purchase, they think of you and regard both your brand and products highly.

Equally important? Maintaining that trust!

  • If you claim your product is great for a certain skin type – ensure that it is.
  • If you see negative reviews that claim the product doesn’t work for a skin type – resist the temptation to contradict the review. Instead, consider what they are saying as useful feedback to reevaluate. Thank the reviewer. Try to take that one step further?
  • Always go the extra mile for them. If you have a dissatisfied customer, do everything you can to make it right.
  • Provide something they really need – and can’t get elsewhere. 
  • Be convenient. To illustrate what that means, here are a few examples:
    • Even if you want them to make an account, they may be in a hurry and appreciate the chance to check out as a guest. They may be wary of submitting credit card information on yet another site – and prefer to buy your products on Amazon. They may have a certain skincare concern and want to filter for all products related to that concern (including toners, moisturizers, etc.) all at once. If a product is out of stock, they may like to sign up for in-stock alerts or make back-order purchases. They will appreciate features like fast and free shipping.
  • Resolve any issues quickly and transparently. Failure to do so breeds mistrust.
  • Put them first in all aspects of branding and marketing.
  • Check the process and experience from their point of view to look for inconsistencies.
  • Always look for new ways to educate, inspire, and help them.

Once you’ve earned that loyalty, you can take it even further – by turning your biggest fans into your ambassadors. Find those long-time repeat customers (or High LTV customers), those rave-reviewers, and those consistent newsletter readers. Remind them about your referral programs, request additional reviews, and invite them to your pop up events or social media communities. When customers truly love a brand, they love talking about that brand! What’s more, new customers are more likely to buy products recommended by those they trust. In fact, referral marketing generates 3-5x more conversions than standard.

Selling Skincare Products Online – Skincare Branding Don’ts

Skincare Branding Don’t: Ignore The User Experience

You may have the best products, the best marketing, and the best prices to boot. All of that won’t go as far as you imagine, though, if the user experience is not on point. What do we mean by this?

  • You should evaluate your site (visuals, navigation, information), content, products, and marketing all from your user’s point of view.
  • Is the site visually appealing, easy to navigate, informative, and simple?
  • Or is it visually dated, confusing to navigate, lacking crucial details / or assuming users are already well-informed about your products?
  • Is the site convenient to use and does it make it easy to find products tailored to their needs (or offer things like quizzes and live chats to support them in their journey)?
  • If your goal is great customer service, have you achieved it?
  • Are the product descriptions clear and sufficiently informative?

Once you take the step back to see things from their point of view, it will become easy to make changes to your site to address common concerns.

Unsure? Ask a third party that is less informed about your industry to take a look. Or better yet, ask your customers directly! Short surveys on sites – or in newsletters – are becoming quite common.

Skincare Branding Don’t: Neglect To Provide Value

Especially for every instance in which you request any customer information, make sure they are getting something worth their effort in return. If they provide their email for a newsletter, make sure that newsletter prompts them to input their skin concerns and that you can segment your audiences by skin concern(s).

This way, you can ensure the newsletter they receive is absolutely valuable to them in their day to day lives (as a side benefit, you’ll improve your open rates, click through rates, and subsequent page dwell-time and page views).

Skincare Branding Don’t: Create Roadblocks

The flip side of this coin is that you don’t want to request more information than seems necessary for the desired user-action. While you may want to know which zip code they live in, the newsletter signup isn’t the best time to ask. When you require more information than the customer cares to share, you create a roadblock in the path forward.

In a similar way, make sure it’s easy for customers to reach out to you – in whichever way they find the most convenient. Make it clear that you are there as a resource – both before and after purchase – and that their product satisfaction is important to you.

Oftentimes, when customers leave bad reviews, for example, it’s because they are unhappy with the product – and the company either offers no means for them to reach out about it, doesn’t respond at all, OR does respond but seems insincere, unconcerned, or generally unhelpful.

Skincare Branding Don’t: Cut Costs With Cookie Cutter Product

Nowadays, consumers expect skincare products tailored to their unique concerns and as customized as possible. By fitting your products to their concerns, you provide value and help them get something they truly may not be able to get elsewhere.

That said, they may become suspicious of products that claim to address all concerns or be suited to all skin types. If your product is a great fit for multiple skin types or concerns, you’ll want to explain this clearly and earn customer trust and buy-in. For other products, make sure you clearly identify the best skin types and use cases for each product. By doing so, you save your customers the guesswork AND increase loyalty as they are more likely to enjoy the product (and buy again).

You’ll also want to ensure high quality ingredients and ethical sourcing and testing. Consumers appreciate the integrity that this reflects on the brand and feel better about spending their funds on organizations they can feel good about. Customers increasingly value quality over cost. However, budget-friendly options are always appreciated, so a wide selection is ideal.

Skincare Branding Don’t: Forget To Educate Your Customers

Educating your customers can not only help you to sell products, it can also establish your brand as an industry leader and go-to source for all things beauty.

  • Let your customers know about the latest trends in beauty and skincare.
  • Let them know which products and techniques are best for their specific concerns.
  • Offer them advice on services related to your industry, so they see you as their skincare guru.

For example, if you focus on moisturizers, toners, and essence, but your customers are wondering about the benefits of professional facials, jade rolling, or DIY face masks – weigh in on those topics. You can recommend your products at this time, but that should not be your focus when creating content meant to build trust.

When you write blogs, make sure they sufficiently answer the question a user has when they arrive at the blog. This goes back to adding value. These blogs are a good time to link to your other content that also addresses similar concerns, encouraging customers to spend more time on your site – and with your brand.

Selling Skincare Products Online – Skincare Marketing Don’ts

Skincare Marketing Don’t: Neglect To Put Yourself In Their Shoes

We’ve mentioned this, but it definitely bears repeating – the user experience is THE MOST crucial component of brand success. Look at the site, the ads, the organic social posts, the product cost and effectiveness, the customer service experience – look at literally every aspect from the customer’s point of view. The more often you do this, the better you get at it – and the more your business will benefit.

Skincare Marketing Don’t: Forget To Look For Marketing Bridge Issues (Crucial Disconnects)

This goes back to the user experience. The marketing bridge is the metaphorical bridge between what you think your site/ads/products/content/review responses are saying – and the way they are perceived by customers. More broadly, it’s the bridge between what you think or hope the customer experience is and what it actually is in reality. Let’s dig into this a bit.

  • Do you think you have great store hours, but you close earlier than your competitors on weekdays (or are closed on Saturdays)?
  • Do you think the brand has great customer service, but the customer service email responses come off as curt/rude/unhelpful?
  • Do you think customers are abandoning their online carts due to cost – but there’s actually in issue with the checkout experience on certain devices?
  • Do you think your review responses are perfect – but the negative reviews use a standard response – never addressing the actual concern (and thus seeming insincere)?
  • Do you think a certain skin product is great for sensitive skin, but reviewers indicate otherwise?
  • Do you think you offer ample parking – but one of your locations is in a shopping center that has had construction taking up the lot for months?
  • Do you think foot traffic is low due to outside factors, but it’s actually that customers can’t find your location easily?
  • Do you intend your email and text marketing to be helpful, but it’s actually under-personalized or so frequent that customers are considering it spam?
  • Do you think certain products are just not popular, but in reality the product landing page just doesn’t have enough information for customers to make an informed decision?

These issues and so many others can have a huge impact on a brand’s success. You can spot many of these issues yourself. For others, you can request customer feedback, consider a consultant, or even modify the traditional secret shopper approach (using an employee that is unfamiliar to that team or even a friend to try things out and provide honest feedback on their experience). Outside agencies, like ourselves, are also a wonderful resource for spotting marketing bridge concerns from an unbiased perspective.

Skincare Marketing Don’t: Fail To Tailor Messaging

The way you greet and speak with a stranger is hugely different from how you chat with a friend. In this same way, your ad copy shouldn’t be the same for a prospective customer as it is in an ad for a returning customer.

Make sure you refine the product you are offering / the concern you are addressing based on the customer’s issues and where they are in the buying process. Failure to do this, especially if a customer has taken the time to let you know their needs, will come off as lazy, uncaring, or be just plain ineffective.

Similarly, don’t make the mistake of writing ads that just tell someone about the product and asks them to buy it. That’s what you want them to know. Think instead about the problem they are having or what they want to know.

  • Does your copy provide enough context for them to tell what you are selling?
  • Does it list the benefits that it offers to them?
  • Does it make it clear why this product is better than what they could get elsewhere?
  • How does it make their life better or easier?

Skincare Marketing Don’t: Forget To Diversify Platforms

If your budget allows for more than the essentials, take full advantage of this. You want your customers to feel like they are seeing you everywhere! This builds credibility, trust, and leads to conversations about your brand.

Making sure you have a mix of platforms also ensures you reach the widest possible variety of customers (as customers may be on one platform and not on another).

Ensuring, within those platforms, that you separate out campaigns to drive awareness, purchases, and repeat business, will also help you to continually fill and utilize that marketing funnel we previously mentioned.

Skincare Marketing Don’t: Take Data At Face-Value (Get It)?

When you see purchases coming in – it’s always great news. When it comes time to use that information to direct your marketing strategy however, there’s more than meets the eye. At first glance, you may find some campaigns are bringing in large sales while some only bring in purchase for small, specific sales. However, these stats may only be cosmetic (we couldn’t resist the pun). Don’t forget to consider your customer LTV (Lifetime Value).

While a customer may at first purchase just one moisturizing set – consider – do they also re-purchase that set every month? If so, that customer may become of higher value to you than one that comes, buys many products, but never visits again. Therefore, knowing this information can make the difference between short term results and long-term success.

To determine your LTV, take the monthly spend of your customer and multiply that by the average timespan of a customer for your brand. To know your marketing ROI for this customer however, you will also need to divide that value by your cost to acquire the customer. Need more help? We have you covered!

This data can help you decide which platforms are best suited to your brand, how to improve your strategy to best attain high LTV customers, and can quantifiably reinforce the importance of brand loyalty and repeat business.

Skincare Marketing Don’t: Dismiss Outside Factors (Or Forget About The Competition)

We’ve gotten really into the weeds with some of these topics. When you start digging deeper and deeper into data, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

If you see a dip in paid media performance, for example, you may immediately ask your team to check the budget and the campaign performance details. This is good. This is important. But you shouldn’t stop here. Work together to consider:

  • What else has been going on?
  • Did your site recently undergo an update that impacted page speed?
  • Are you forgetting to account for seasonality of certain products?
  • Were you running a tv spot that was driving awareness that funneled down to the paid media campaigns, but you stopped the spot last month?
  • Are consumer habits changing on a larger scale?
  • Are competitors spending more in the ad auctions?
  • Are competitors offering different perks, added value, or changing pricing?
  • Have key competitors improved their site or their products?

Always try and consider every variable that goes into your campaign performance – any of these variables could be a huge factor in your performance shifts – and a huge opportunity for improvement. While it’s important to get granular; don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.

These make or break dos and don’ts for promoting your skincare brand online, will help you spread the word about your products and drive sales. If you need help getting started – or taking your marketing to the next level – we’re here for you! We offer services ranging from website development to SEO and (of course) paid media.

You know your products, and we know how to market them. Together, we’ll help customers find your products (from discovery to repeat purchase). Interested in forming a beauty-full partnership? Reach out for a free consultation!

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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