How to Build An Ecommerce Beauty Brand

Few industries are as competitive as beauty and skincare. With constant innovation, a saturated market, and a lot of noise to cut through, starting a brand in this industry can be downright daunting.  The key to getting it right is to have a strong brand with clear messaging. So how do you start marketing your beauty brand?

Building Your Brand

Before you can start building your brand, you’ll need to know exactly what a brand is and how you can go about building one. To effectively build a brand, you need to understand the differences between a brand, branding, and brand identity. And yes, they’re all different. 

Your brand is the perception of your company that exists in the world. It’s the sum of your branding and your brand voice. 

Your branding is how you shape and bring your brand to life. It’s the practice of actively creating your brand. 

Your brand identity is all of the elements you use to bring the brand to life, from things like your logos and colors to your copy guidelines and messaging. 

So your brand identity is the collateral you use for branding, which is how you create your brand. Now that we’ve established that, we can start to lay the groundwork for a strong beauty brand. The best way to do this is to ask yourself a few questions. 

Photo by michela ampolo on Unsplash

Step 1: Determine who you are.

This can be the most esoteric and difficult step, but doing this will help tremendously with all of the other steps to follow. It can be as simple as picking out a few adjectives that describe you–maybe your brand is “dark, edgy, and high-fashion” Or maybe you’re more “young, fresh-faced, and all-natural.” A lot of this will be determined by the products you sell, so if you’re marketing an all-natural skincare line, maybe the dark, edgy angle isn’t for you (or maybe it is? We don’t judge). This is a super personal thing to figure out, so follow your gut on this one. 

Step 2: Identify what makes your brand different.

Okay, you’ve done the hardest part. Now it’s time to figure out what will set you apart from your competitors. Remember, the beauty industry is incredibly saturated and the best way to stand out is to have a unique differentiator for your brand. The easiest way to do this is to have a solid understanding of what your competitors are doing, and how that might differ from what your brand is doing. Therein lies your differentiator. Some examples of this in the beauty world are inclusive makeup or skincare lines that have shades for all skin tones, brands that are known for creating a specific type of product like Anastasia and their famous brow pencils, or makeup lines that are made with all-natural ingredients. You didn’t create a makeup line to be just like everyone else. Figure out what makes you stand out.  

Step 3: Articulate your mission and values.

Building on the first two steps, it’s time to figure out what your mission and values are. Lots of companies know this is important, but they don’t know how to do it in a meaningful way. Don’t force it. If you have to lie, it’s probably not a good idea to try and put it in your values. Your differentiator is how you’re doing it, and your mission is why. So, if you’re creating a skincare line for men, maybe your differentiator is that your products are easy to use and don’t have harsh scents, whereas your mission is to make skincare more accessible to men. Or, if your company is on a mission to give back, your differentiator is how you make that happen. 

Step 4: Define your ideal customer.

The final step is to define your ideal customer. There are lots of great resources out there that will show you how to create a marketing persona. Defining this persona is the final step in creating your brand, and after going through the first three steps, you should have a fairly good idea of who you’re going to be selling to. Take the time to determine what motivates this customer, what their pain points might be, and how your messaging and products can help solve them. 

Branding in Action

Ready to put your shiny new brand to the test? There are tons of ways to introduce customers to your brand, including one of our favorite email series known as the Welcome Campaign. Here are a few other ways to show customers what your brand is all about. 

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Working with Influencers

We could write you an entire piece on working with influencers–in fact, we already did. While it’s a fine art to figure out how much to budget for influencer marketing, most influencers agree that they’re more willing to work for a brand with a clear message, well-defined mission, and strong values. This is where your brand comes into play. The more time you spend developing your brand, and the more successful you are at conveying it, the easier it will be to find and work with the influencers who share a similar mission and values. 

The good news about working with influencers is that often, you’ll often have better results working with people with smaller followings whose values and mission align with your own. Though they typically have smaller follower counts, their audiences are more hyper-focused and targeted. Quality over quantity. 

User-Generated Content (UGC)

The most well-defined brands know their customers, which means they have ample opportunity for user-generated content. UGC, as the name suggests, is content created by your customers, and it’s awesome. By showcasing your products being used by your customers, your brand gets an instant boost in credibility and authenticity. Now for some interesting statistics around UGC. First, only 16% of brands offer guidelines for users who want to submit UGC. Meanwhile, 50% of users have indicated that they would prefer guidelines. So, whether they’re using a hashtag or tagging your brand directly, decide how you want users to submit their content, figure out which pieces of content align with your brand and your marketing goals, et voila. 

Customer Experience

From the time a potential customer visits your site to the time they open their order, every experience (good and bad) that they have reflects on your brand. Don’t stop crafting your brand just in the marketing stages. For the highly visual nature of beauty brands especially, everything from product packaging to your customer service is another opportunity to brand the experience. Carefully audit your customer experience, research what people are saying in their reviews, and double-check all of the UGC you get to make sure you aren’t missing out on any opportunities.