The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Luxury Brands

Introduction to Digital Luxury Marketing

How do you market your luxury goods and services?

It’s a seemingly simple question with an exceedingly complex answer.

The industry is full of big players vying for your audience’s attention and money. How do you stand out? Only a comprehensive strategy, coupled with a detailed plan to execute a variety of tactics, can help you succeed.

The global luxury market is worth almost $1 trillion annually. This post will help you build a comprehensive digital strategy designed to take your share from that.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or refining existing efforts, consider this your ultimate guide to digital luxury brand marketing. More specifically, we’ll cover:

1. Building a Digital Strategy Tailored to the Luxury Consumer

No marketing initiative can be successful without a strategy in place.

In fact, According to the 2018 CMO survey conducted by Deloitte and the American Marketing Association, almost every major reason why digital marketing fails on a large scale is connected to a strategic failure.

To avoid falling into that trap, you have to build your luxury brand marketing strategy from the inside out.

Build Your Luxury Brand Marketing Strategy

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These steps can help you get there:

1. Identify Your Marketing Goals

If you know where you’re going, you will be able to determine how to get there. It sounds like a proverb, but is actually a fundamental truth of marketing. Every strategy, whether you’re marketing luxury or convenience goods, has to start with your goals in mind.

Depending on your brand, market position, and organizational maturity, these goals might look very different.

A luxury watch startup might be aiming for brand awareness above all, seeking to become a name to recognize in a crowded field. Meanwhile, a mature realtor will likely look for market dominance in a limited geographic area.

Your marketing goals can range from macro (increasing overall revenue) to micro (increasing newsletter sign up). But they should always be measurable, realistic, and clear. Set them first, and build everything else within your strategy within that context.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

The second basic pillar of any luxury brand marketing strategy is defining your target audience.

In as much detail as possible, you should understand exactly who your current and your ideal customers are. Be careful: they might not be identical. Identifying both gives you a better idea of who to go after when reaching for your marketing goals.

Your audience will play a major role in how you build your marketing strategy moving forward. For instance, you might find that you need to enhance your millennial marketing strategy.

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Define your customers not just by their demographics, but also by their interests, behaviors, and pain points. The more comprehensive the profile becomes, the more accurately you can market to them down the road in both messaging and tactics.

3. Evaluate Your Existing Marketing Strategy

Unless you are building a new brand from the ground up, your next step should include understanding exactly what you have been putting in the market.

Evaluating your existing marketing strategy helps you understand your current brand perceptions, and find elements to build on for future efforts.

  • • Audit all of your communications, including:
  • • Digital ads
  • • Your current and previous web presence
  • • Automated and manual email communication
  • • Past organic social media posts
  • • Mentions of your brand by others online

Then, evaluate each effort both on its own and in connection to each other. What should emerge is a picture of your brand as it stand right now, which may or may not need some adjusting.

4. Develop a Marketing Plan

All of the background research is complete. Now, it’s time to develop a comprehensive marketing plan.

It’s the written document that outlines all of the above in detail.

The plan also needs to include timelines of launch and execution for each tactics and the strategy as a whole, as well as the various checkmarks and benchmarks against which you will measure your goals.

5. Prepare to Execute Your Marketing Plan

The document is complete, and all relevant stakeholders throughout your organization have provided their buy-in. Now, it’s time to go to market. Develop a launch plan, including elements such as:

  • • The creative assets needed for launch
  • • Any tactics (such as PR) that might accelerate initial buzz
  • • Internal launch communication to leave no one within your business in the dark
  • • A timeline of the launch with responsibilities for everyone involved

These steps are the foundation of any successful comprehensive marketing efforts. Once they are in place, you’ve found the baseline to start telling your story.

2. Developing Your Brand Story Through Content Marketing

The best kind of marketing tells a story.

Consumers don’t buy luxury goods because they rationally need them. They buy them for wish fulfillment, out of aspiration, and other emotional reasons.

The right brand story connects to these emotions and builds a bond with your audience.

Find Your Core Narrative

Any story starts with a core. Within a page or two, write down what makes your luxury brand unique within its field.

Focus on the elements that differentiate your product from its competition, on both an emotional and rational level.

This narrative will exist for internal consumption only. It gives you a guiding document to base all of your marketing and storytelling on. Spend enough time on it to make it worthy of being such a foundational piece, but don’t overthink it in favor of actual, outside-facing tactics.

Develop a Sense of Exclusivity

With your narrative in place, it’s time to build the surrounding story. Within the luxury industry, exclusivity is absolute key to success.

There’s nothing better for your audience than feeling special, thanks to your product. They want to stand out, and your brand story can help them get there. Build a content strategy that tells the story of your brand in ways that directly connects to their individuality.

Don’t Be Afraid to Innovate

A story focused on exclusivity can be told through a variety of channels. Yes, that means carrying it through your website, blog, and social media channels. But you don’t have to stop there. Don’t be afraid to innovate, driving new tactics and new ways to tell story.

That might mean building VR experiences for your customers. It might mean live video from exclusive events for select members of your audience. Check out how Chanel tells its story through its website in a way that’s entirely interactive, and defies traditional web design rules.

Build a Story For All Touchpoints

Finally, make sure that your story carries through every way in which you interact with your audience. You don’t have to retell it everytime you send an email. But at the very least, every email should pick up on the same threads, and build on the same narrative, as your other tactics.

Chances are you will communicate with your audience through anything from your website to social media, digital ads, video content, and more. Evaluate each of these channels individually and together to make sure they are consistent not just in format or design, but the story they tell your potential and current customers.

3. Building a Luxury Website Designed to Stand Out

Digital marketing for luxury brands can’t be complete without a website.

It’s the centerpiece of your efforts, the place where you can showcase your goods while also drawing your audience into the buyer’s journey and converting them along the way.

That means a special emphasis placed on your owned online presence as you build a larger marketing plan for your brand. Learn about the importance of UX and search engine optimization. Then, gather some inspiration from other brands using their websites to attract, convince, and convert their audience.

The Importance of User Experience for Luxury Websites

Digital marketing can only get you so far.

As you grow your brand presence and awareness, you have to make sure that your website delivers on its promise. That means putting a special focus on user experience.

The concept of user experience matters throughout luxury digital marketing. It can guide your audience through your brand journey, drive conversions, and personalize online experiences.

Through mobile optimization, you can ensure a consistent experience throughout the funnel.

How to Build Your Luxury Website with SEO in Mind

A large percentage of users will find your luxury brand through a Google search.

To make sure you appear in relevant results, search engine optimization (SEO) has to become a major focal point.

These SEO tips for your luxury website can help you get started. From keyword research to technical backend optimizations, some of these strategies can lead to quick improvements. But ultimately, SEO is a long-term strategy, requiring months of work and optimization to realize sustainable results.

SEO Tips For Your Luxury Website

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5 Luxury Brands that Stand Out Through Exceptional Websites

Luxury websites have to be exclusive, but also easy to use. They need to seem natural, while standing out from the pack. These types of paradoxes can be difficult to visualize.

To jump start your imagination, check out how these luxury websites are leading the way.

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4. Enhancing Your Luxury Email Strategy For Long-Term Success

The right website, coupled with the right content, ensures that plenty of leads enter your sales funnel. Now, you have to guide them through it on their way to becoming customers. Enter email marketing.

The importance of a good list in luxury email marketing is difficult to overstate.

The Importance of a Good Email List

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If you sell yourself through exclusivity, you have to be able to convey that through outreach and nurturing messages at every funnel stage.

The right list helps you grow your brand, track results, and better target your audience.

Of course, the list itself is only the start. Messages matter just as much. Write messages that speak directly to your audience’s pain points and desires, keep them short and to the point, and design them in a way that stands out in a crowded inbox.

5. Building Video Content For the Luxury Consumer

The importance of video in modern digital marketing for luxury brands is well-established. But you might not realize just how much that importance is magnified within luxury categories.

The Importance of Real Content

Video might just be your most powerful storytelling outlet. It helps you convey the emotions and feelings necessary to convince potential consumers that yours is the right brand for them.

But it can only do so if your content is authentic.

The most successful luxury videos are real.

They show off their high production value, but not without subtly hinting at a close relationship with the customer. Their authenticity communicates the fact that while the brand benefits are desirable and exclusive, they’re also attainable for the right audience.

How Videos Can Support Your Entire Luxury Marketing Strategy

Produce the right video, and the brand benefits can be immense. This is one of the few channels that you can leverage successfully throughout your channel. In fact, every one of the tactics in this guide can benefit from some video component.

On social media, videos contribute to brand awareness. Embedded in ads, they to your website. On that site, they enhance your user experience and drive conversions. In emails, they nurture audiences closer to the sale. Throughout the process, they tell your brand story in visually compelling ways.

6. Integrating Social Media into Your Luxury Brand Digital Marketing

Social media carries untapped potential for luxury brands. This channel can help you shape your audience’s perceptions, and build loyalty among both current and potential customers. To make that happen, you need to follow a number of steps:

  • 1. Focus on quality over quantity
  • 2. Optimize the timing of your posts
  • 3. Build a content strategy calendar
  • 4. Build a blog to multiply content opportunities

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Finding the Right Social Media Channels for Your Brand

Even the best strategy, timing, and messaging matters little if you don’t speak to the right audience. Finding the right social media channel means understanding exactly who your potential customers are, and where they like to spend their time.

That might mean defaulting to a channel like Facebook. It doesn’t have to be. There are many YouTube marketing opportunities for luxury brands that are worth considering.

Youtube Marketing Opportunities for Luxury Brands

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Find one to three channels that best match your brand type and audience, and focus your efforts there.

The Nuances and Benefits of Luxury Influencer Marketing

Luxury influencer marketing is among the most potential-rich opportunities available to most brands.

Done right, it brings a level of authenticity and social validation to your product or service that messages from yourself simply cannot match.

To get to that point, strategy is absolute key. You need to find the right influencers, and understand just how to engage with them. Build messages with them that are more than just another promotion from a unique source.

Get it right, and your marketing opportunities expand significantly.

No marketing strategy can be complete without a paid component. Luxury brands spend up to 50% of their marketing budgets on digital ads alone. Considering this component is absolutely essential for a sustainable and success-driven plan.

Best Practices in Paid Luxury Advertising

As with any marketing tactic, simply spending money is not enough. You have to make sure that the money is spent wisely, with constant opportunities for adjustments and improvements. These best practices can help you get there.

  • • Use a multi-channel approach, spreading your messaging to channels from Instagram to Facebook
  • • Engage in nuanced targeting, including options such as behavioral factors, geo-fencing, and retargeting
  • • Build multiple A/B tests, testing elements such as your copy, headlines, and images used
  • • Carry a consistent message from the ad to the website, and ultimately the product experience
  • • Track your ads through to conversion, finding the true ROI of each dollar spent in digital advertising

Looking for more tips and information? Find out how top brands can increase their brand awareness and ROI through digital advertising.

The Nuances of Google Search and Display Ads

Within your larger paid strategy, Google search and display should take a particularly prominent role.

The former helps you build your brand presence on the world’s most popular website. Through expanded ads and snippets, your brand can present itself fully to potential customers searching for relevant terms.

Display ads, meanwhile, tend to be more general.

They seek to convey a feeling and more subtle brand message, making them a perfect fit for the luxury industry. Display ads also lend themselves to retargeting, following your recent web visitors around the web to keep your brand top of mind for them.

8. Optimizing Your Mobile and Mobile App Marketing

Modern consumers use mobile devices.

Luxury consumers do so on an even more significant scale. Reaching them means building your entire digital marketing strategy with mobile not just in mind, but at its heart.

Research has found that:

  • • 51% of luxury shoppers expect brands to have a mobile website
  • • 49% expect a mobile app
  • • 43% expect to make purchases through either.

Of course, a clear 100% use their device regularly to browse for products or simply spend their time.

How to Maximize Your Mobile Marketing Opportunity

Start with responsive design.

Your website should work on every screen size, from phone to desktop. Responsive design extends to content, which should be easily digestible in small chunks and with clear, engaging visuals.

Local optimization also matters.

Especially if your marketing efforts include a physical location, that location needs to be easy to find and integrate with your digital messaging. The key is simple: adjust your strategy to your audience’s mobile preferences, and you can maximize your opportunities.

The Power of Mobile Apps in Luxury Marketing

The existence of a responsive mobile web presence is great, but might not be enough. Increasingly, luxury consumers are looking for in-depth, native app experiences.

Building a mobile app comes with a range of benefits:

  • • More opportunity for owned media and controllable content, which can be more in-depth than a website
  • • Offline functionality, minimizing downtime and maximizing usability for your audience
  • • Unique content options, such as virtual reality and gamification opportunities

9. Building and Improving Your CRM System

As prospects enter your sales funnel, they need and expect personalized messaging designed for their needs and pain points. That cannot be possible without a strategy and platform that emphasizes Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

CRM systems offer a variety of opportunities to luxury brands across industries, including:

  • • Tracking audience interactions with your website and messaging
  • • Sending automated email flows that are designed to tell your brand story and nurture your leads
  • • Offering opportunities for direct outreach from prospects to your company’s representatives
  • • Keeping your email and prospect lists clean to minimize spam and unwanted messages
  • • Implementing referral programs that bring new customers to your brand on a more organic level
  • • Gaining insights about your audience that help you improve your targeting for future initiatives

Done right, your CRM system and strategy can help you accomplish a core goal of digital luxury marketing: the personal connection with your brand that is so essential for long-term relationships with your customers.

10. Measuring and Adjusting Your Luxury Marketing Strategy Over Time

All of the above combine into a comprehensive strategy that can take weeks and even months to plan and implement. But even once every ad is running, your videos play on social media, and your leads are rolling in, the work is only beginning.

The Importance of Monitoring Results

From the moment your tactics begin to run, you should know how they are performing. That means building in a variety of benchmarks for each channel, based on KPIs that make the most sense for that tactic. Common digital marketing KPIs include:

  • • Reach and Impressions
  • • Total Click-Throughs and Click-Through Rate
  • • Total Conversions and Conversion Rate
  • • Total Web Visits
  • • Bounce Rate, Time on Page, Pages Visited, and Other Website KPIs
  • • Ad Spend, Spend per Click, and Spend per Conversion

Continuous Improvement to Revise Your Strategy

Once you begin to monitor KPIs like the above, you can make adjustments. You must measure, adjust, and improve your high end marketing strategies over time.

The best digital marketing strategies embrace a philosophy of continuous improvement, always revising strategy, channels, and messaging for optimum results.

The above-mentioned A/B testing plays into that equation. So do more comprehensive tests, both on your website and within the individual channels.

Always bring your improvement back to your KPIs to make sure you stay on track and meet your marketing goals.

Creating New Content to Keep the Marketing Fresh

Over time, you will need to make more than just adjustments.

You also have to ensure that audiences who have already seen your videos and other content continue to be engaged with your brand.

Regular content refreshers are key to making that happen. Take old content, and see how you can build on it. Create new content that fits into your larger brand story. Even as you make improvements, always continue to work towards the future.

The above-mentioned A/B testing plays into that equation. So do more comprehensive tests, both on your website and within the individual channels.

Always bring your improvement back to your KPIs to make sure you stay on track and meet your marketing goals.

Creating New Content to Keep the Marketing Fresh

Over time, you will need to make more than just adjustments.

You also have to ensure that audiences who have already seen your videos and other content continue to be engaged with your brand.

Regular content refreshers are key to making that happen. Take old content, and see how you can build on it. Create new content that fits into your larger brand story. Even as you make improvements, always continue to work towards the future.

Building a Listening Component Into Your Plan

Finally, as you implement and adjust to your strategy, never forget about your audience. Your luxury marketing won’t be successful if you build new content based on hunches. The better approach is a conscious effort to listen to your audience.

Daily social listening is key in luxury marketing.

It helps you find problem areas, pain points, and preferences. From reading comments to setting up Google alerts and more comprehensive listening activities, put your current and potential customers at the center of your efforts.

11. Next Steps: Building Your Luxury Marketing Plan

For luxury brands, digital marketing has to be a core consideration that is closely connected to larger business objectives. But where do you start? A comprehensive plan has to be your first step.

To make that happen, you might need a partner. Consider these factors, then hire a luxury brand digital marketing agency that aligns with your vision and priorities. With a strategic partner at your side, you can tackle the above channels and efforts in a way that drives your business forward.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.