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Skincare marketing: 7 strategies for selling beauty products

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Creating a skincare line is one thing, but marketing it is quite another. Learn how to write powerful product descriptions that will attract customers and market skincare effectively using social media, influencers and SEO strategies.

If you sell creams, serums, soaps or other skin and hair care products online, developing an effective skin care marketing and branding plan is one of the most effective ways to increase sales and awareness of your products.

Effective marketing plans can include social media campaigns, collaboration with influencers and content creation – and we’ll come back to that – but they start with the foundations of your business. It’s about your brand, the description of your products and how you stand out from your competitors.

Knowing your company’s unique voice and who you sell to is the first step to knowing how to market your brand. Every skincare brand is different in the way it chooses its customers, its look and its product selection.

That said, skincare companies do share some common traits, and it’s worth looking at the most significant similarities to ask the following questions: what should a product page look like? What details do customers want to see highlighted? How do customers discover their next favorite product?

In this overview, we’ll look at skin care marketing strategy, skin care promotion ideas, skin care advertising and much more.

Even companies with outstanding products can struggle to make sales if their marketing strategy isn’t on point.

Here’s an overview of the different types of marketing you can use to draw attention to your skincare products.

1. Understand your skincare brand, competitors and target market

Deciding exactly what your brand is and who will buy it is the first step in your marketing. You can’t tell your potential customers what they can expect from your skincare range until you know exactly what you’re selling and why.

Defining your skincare brand

Your brand is more than just your logo and trade name. It includes these elements, but it also defines your value proposition. It’s a question of determining what benefits you can offer customers when they use your product. Your value proposition must be specific, distinguish you from your competitors and tell buyers what problem, or “pain point”, you can solve for them.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What can your products do that others can’t? Are they easier to use or more effective than those of your competitors?
  • What skin, hygiene or cosmetic problem can your products solve or improve?
  • What makes your skincare line unique? Do you use specialized or all-natural ingredients? Are you committed to adopting environmentally-friendly practices?

You have to be precise. To say that your brand is “the world’s best skincare” is vague, overly grandiloquent and tells your customers nothing about your products. On the other hand, a slogan like “Clean skin care made from the finest ingredients” tells people that you’re committed to using high-quality natural ingredients and that you’re transparent about the composition of your products.

Take Glossier, for example. The brand presents itself as “The New Beauty Essentials” and “Skincare & Beauty Products Inspired by Real Life”. Customers can therefore expect products that are easy to use, and the brand offers a collection of basic skincare products, such as cleansers and moisturizers. The Ordinary stands for “Clinical Formulations with Integrity”, which means you can expect well-tested products with proven results that make you imagine someone in a lab coat. This brand image is reflected in the packaging, which has a streamlined look that highlights the active ingredients in each product.

Try studying different major skincare brands to see how their slogans and designs relate to each other.

Understanding the skin care market

The next item on your checklist is to determine who your customers are and what your competitors are doing. This is a key element in launching a marketing campaign, because you don’t want to waste precious time and money trying to sell to people who aren’t even interested in skincare. For example, you’ll probably have trouble selling anti-aging serums to teenagers.

Knowing your target audience will help you add more products, because you’ll already know what your customers want to see.

Take the time to ask yourself:

  • What is the age, gender, ethnic origin and income level of your customers?
  • What are their interests and hobbies?
  • Where do they live?
  • Which social media platforms do they use most?
  • What do they expect from the skincare products they use?
  • What products do they currently use?
  • What would motivate them to try a new product?

You can go even further by analyzing your own customer database, surveying your customers using a tool such as SurveyMonkey, or searching for third-party industry data.

To get a feel for your competitors’ market, examine their websites, ads and social media posts to see how they sell. What do the models look like? What environments do they place their products in? Do they convey a sense of luxury or something more affordable?

2. Writing effective skin care product descriptions

One of the key elements of effective marketing is your ability to understand and counter your customers’ main objections, i.e. all the reasons that make them hesitate to make a purchase. It’s not enough to display a product image and a brightly colored “Buy Now” button, especially if you’re selling a luxury skincare product.

Customers’ fears play a decisive role in their decision to buy or not. For most types of skincare products, people’s biggest fear is “Will it work?”. People want proof, but they’re at home, sitting in front of their screens, and can’t try out the product. How can you dispel this fear and provide concrete evidence that they should Add to Cart?

By writing detailed product descriptions that address all potential customer objections, you’ll encourage them to buy with confidence.

What are the results for your skincare products?

People don’t buy products, they buy results. Customers are looking for solutions that can help them – your products are simply a tool they use to achieve this.

For example, customer interest in acne treatments has little to do with filling their medicine cabinet with yet another product. They buy these products because they want to treat and eliminate their acne.

Companies naturally see their products as a set of features. Features are important, but to really succeed, skincare sellers need to start thinking about what their customers ultimately want and what they’re trying to achieve by using their products.

Take, for example, the description of an Estée Lauder anti-aging night mask.

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Nothing in this text really tells the customer what the mask will do. It promises “youthful hydration”, but does that mean it’s just a moisturizer or does it treat fine lines and wrinkles? Does the phrase “helps lock in moisture” mean that it replaces a night cream? Terms like “fresher” or “renewed” are nice to hear, but remain vague.

This Origins acne spot treatment, on the other hand, is clearer about the product’s action.

Nothing in this text really tells the customer what the mask will do. It promises “youthful hydration”, but does that mean it’s just a moisturizer or does it treat fine lines and wrinkles? Does the phrase “helps lock in moisture” mean that it replaces a night cream? Terms like “fresher” or “renewed” are nice to hear, but remain vague.

This Origins acne spot treatment, on the other hand, is clearer about the product’s action.

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The description tells the buyer that the product works by eliminating sebum and correcting discoloration – exactly what an acne sufferer might be looking for.

Or this Dr.Jart+ skin cream.

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The description clearly indicates the result, namely hydration and brightening of dark circles.

Your descriptions don’t have to be long, complex or poetic: just tell the customer what they can expect.

To make expectations even clearer, we recommend including instructions on how to use the product in the description.

Ingredients for skin care products

Being able to consult a product’s complete list of ingredients is increasingly becoming a priority for consumers. Skincare companies must adapt to this new and growing consumer demand for transparency.

We often see skincare companies provide a partial list of ingredients, but choose not to disclose the rest. But it may not be the best choice. Listing all the ingredients is a good way of building trust with potential customers: you show that you have nothing to hide, and that you stand behind the formulas you’ve chosen.

Take a look at this face oil sold by Net-A-Porter. She lists each ingredient and uses parentheses to explain the meaning of certain confusing-sounding words. It’s worth noting that there’s no need for over-promotion either. Simply listing the ingredients in a separate tab or section is enough to win customers’ trust.

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If part of your brand uses natural ingredients, this is a great way to get the word out. But if that’s not your style, that’s okay too. Products with non-100% natural ingredients, such as preservatives, don’t necessarily sell less well than their all-natural equivalents – they simply attract different customer segments. Here again, it’s transparency that counts.

You can also highlight ingredients you don’t include. On the Sephora website, for example, product descriptions include a section entitled “Ingredient Callouts”. It indicates whether or not a product contains controversial ingredients, such as phthalates (used in plastics), parabens (a preservative) and sulfates (often found in hair care products). This information is useful for anyone looking for products that avoid these ingredients. The store also has a “Clean at Sephora” label for products free from a list of controversial ingredients.

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You can also indicate whether your products are vegan or cruelty-free.

Provide proof and reviews of your skin care products

There’s no better way to show that your products are effective than by relying on the results obtained by customers. If your products have been tested by dermatologists, mention it on your product pages, or even add a badge or graphic to make it stand out even more.

Another example is Estée Lauder. The product description includes specific text highlighting the positive effects observed in women of all ethnic groups.

Although the sample size is small – and note that the brand is transparent about this – customers are reassured.

An easy way to get this kind of feedback is to let customers leave comments, which are proven to help convince buyers to take the plunge.

It’s understandable that you’re concerned about negative reviews, but even less glowing reviews engender trust, because they show that you don’t edit reviews or hide them.

Sephora uses this aspect to its advantage, allowing anyone with an account to leave a review.

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Not only do customers rate the products and write their impressions, but they can also include images showing the effect of the product on their skin or hair. What’s more, each user can indicate their skin and hair type, so customers can be sure that the assessment applies to them. You can also sort products by their highest rating. By combining all these elements, Sephora customers are marketing themselves.

3. Leverage social media marketing

Social media marketing for your skincare brand can be a great way to generate sales, build brand awareness, find influencers to work with and build customer loyalty. What’s more, these tools are free to use, unless you’re into paid advertising for skincare products.

But implementing a social media strategy can be daunting. With so many platforms vying for Internet users’ attention, it can be hard to know where to start. So the first step is not to get overwhelmed.

Here are just a few of the platforms you can try out:

  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • X (formerly Twitter)
  • Snapchat

There are more specialized sites, such as Tumblr and Reddit communities, but the aforementioned sites are the most popular and heavily trafficked and provide the best starting points.

Each platform has its own content style, accounts created specifically for businesses, and integrated self-service advertising options. The TikTok audience, for example, really appreciates authenticity and seeing familiar faces. You can be very precise and granular when choosing which Facebook custom audiences to target. While Snapchat and TikTok are entirely video-based, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram let you mix both video and still images.

With so many platforms at your fingertips, it’s important not to overload yourself. By trying to use all platforms at once, you risk exhausting yourself and producing unconvincing content that won’t generate the engagement you’re looking for. It’s better to be highly efficient on just one or two platforms than to strive to manage them all, especially if you have a small team or work solo.

To start with, identify one or two platforms you’d like to be present on, and observe what your competitors are doing and how they’re using different platforms in different ways.

For each platform, you must decide :

  • What do you hope to gain from the platform (more sales or brand awareness, for example)?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your goal (a certain number of followers or engagements within six months, for example)?
  • What type of content will you create as part of your skills?

Defining these intentions will keep you on track and help you decide later whether your strategy is working or whether it needs to be improved.

As to what really needs to be published, let’s look at a few examples.

Show how your products work

Purl Beauty has attracted 1.3 million followers on TikTok with its @Facialmasklab account. She uses this account to market her mask machine, which allows users to make their own face masks at home. In her popular videos, she shows how to make masks from a wide variety of ingredients, like this one based on matcha green tea. The videos give ideas on how to use the device and are a pleasure to watch. They can show, for example, how to apply a cleanser or make-up remover to achieve a glamorous look, or how to use a face roller.

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Publish on key days using trending keywords

Every day on social media, there’s some kind of opportunity to score. For National Coffee Day, Lush shared photos and a link to its Cup O’ Coffee mask on Twitter.

It’s a fun way to incorporate a trendy hash into your marketing and gain ground. Do you have a doughnut-shaped soap? National Doughnut Day takes place in June. Do you use all-natural products? National Clean Beauty Day takes place in July. Check out this website for other national days to plan.

Share content generated by users and influencers

If your customers find you on social media, you may be tagged by people who post about your products themselves. It can be very validating and exciting to see. When this happens on Instagram, for example, you can easily repost something to your Stories.

Otherwise, the best etiquette is to reach out and ask permission to repost, always giving credit to the customer if you re-upload their post. You can even encourage customer posts by offering discount codes to people who do. Another way of distributing this content is to use influencers or send out free products.

Create surveys or call lists

If you don’t know what to publish, sometimes all you have to do is ask a question. Many platforms include polling options, or you can simply ask users to respond in the comments. This promotes engagement by encouraging people to interact with your messages.

4. Working with skincare influencers

Let’s start with a case study: CeraVe. Now owned by L’Oréal, CeraVe is a skincare line that treats acne and has been around since 2005. Its brand image tends to be clinical – a simple look that emphasizes that the formulas have been developed with dermatologists.

In 2020, CeraVe had a viral moment when TikTok creator Hyram Yarbro, better known as @hyram, praised the brand in a roundup of drugstore skincare options. Hyram Yarbro may not be a dermatologist, but he has built up a loyal following of over six million people who trust his skincare advice.

His recommendation gave the brand a new lease of life, generating coverage in Vogue, on BuzzFeed and CNN. L’Oréal then cleverly signed up Yarbro to become a paid influencer, creating video content to promote the brand.

You may not have the marketing budget of L’Oréal or the good fortune to be selected by someone who already has millions of followers, but it shows the power of influencers to create buzz and even attract media attention.

Influencers are generally classified according to the number of followers they have. Here’s a general guide.

  • Nano-influencers: 1,000 to 10,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000 to 100,000 followers
  • Mid-level influencers: 100,000-500,000 followers
  • Macro-influencers: 500,000 to 1 million followers
  • Mega-influencers: 1 million or more followers

The number of followers correlates with the amount of remuneration an influencer can obtain for accepting a sponsorship. Big influencers may have the biggest audience, but a contract with them can run into six figures and may have to go through an agent or manager. These contracts are more complicated, but they have the greatest impact.

On the other hand, smaller influencers require less money and you can probably contact them simply by sending them a direct message or e-mail. The data also shows that nano-influencers have higher engagement rates than large accounts – 18% per message versus 4% for mega-influencers, according to Grin.

Choosing the influencers you want to work with takes a bit of work. Try searching for skincare-related hashtags on various social media platforms – TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, for example – and identify influencers in that space.

Once you’ve found people you’re interested in, contact them to ask about rates and find out who you’d like to work with. Remember, you’re talking to them, so let them know why you think your brand is right for them.

When entering into an influencer marketing contract, it’s important to define your expectations: are you paying for a single message? A multi-part story? A series of videos? Clearly specifying what’s expected of you and putting it down in a contract will make things easier for all concerned.

For skincare, you can ask the influencer to use the product in a video or post regular updates on the product’s effectiveness.

You can also try your luck by simply sending free products to influencers. In the industry, influencers call these giveaways PR, and when a major beauty or skincare line is launched, there’s hype around who will receive the coveted items.

But it can also be a gamble. Many influencers with a decent number of followers won’t publish positive articles in exchange for free products. And even if they do publish articles, without a paid arrangement or contract, you can’t guarantee that what they publish will be positive, or even that they’ll publish anything at all.

5. Invest in content marketing

Creating content alongside your products can be a smart way to generate traffic and build trust by showcasing your knowledge. More than half of all marketers incorporate content marketing into their business, and it’s an effective way to drive SEO engagement and traffic, and grow your brand. Some people have even managed to turn a blog into a real business.

If you run a skincare business, you probably have a wealth of useful information that your customers would like to know. Creating a blog is a natural way to share this information.

Thanks to your SEO skills (see below), you can think of questions your customers might have and answer them in your own blog posts. Remember that people are looking for useful information, not just an advertisement for products, so use your expertise to help them. Play to your strengths too. If your products focus on particular ingredients, you can write about exactly what these ingredients do and how they contribute to healthy skin or hair. You may have tips and tricks for setting up a skin care program. Think of all the problems you’re trying to solve with your products, and how you can turn them into content your customers can use.

6. Skin care SEO

It’s estimated that a third of your traffic can come from search engine optimization, so it’s not something to be overlooked. The basic principle of SEO marketing is to ensure that potential customers looking for skin care products or information can easily find your site.

Search engine optimization is both an art and a skill that some people devote their entire careers to, but you don’t have to be an SEO genius to get started.

The first thing to do is to determine the search terms you think will bring customers to your site. If you start typing “skin care” into the Google search bar, you can already begin to see which search terms are the most popular.

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You can also use more sophisticated tools, such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer or Ahrefs, to identify search terms for optimization.

7. Getting started in SMS marketing

SMS stands for short message service, but we all know it better as texting. While many people’s inboxes are filled with promotional e-mails, SMS marketing is a great way to cut through the noise and get your message straight to your customers’ phones.

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You can use this marketing method to promote products, announce sales and discounts, and build customer loyalty. According to Gartner, the open rate for SMS is 98%, compared with 25% for e-mail.

The advantage of this method is that, because it’s an opt-in marketing style, people who sign up to receive text messages really want to hear from you. Your contact list may be smaller than your e-mail list, but it contains your most loyal customers.

The downside is that SMS marketing can be expensive. Using SMS software can cost between $0.50 and $1.75 per message, but it can pay for itself. Bushbalm reports a return on investment of $1.30 per SMS sent.

From ideas to action

You should now be well equipped to implement your skin care marketing plan. You’ve learned how to enhance your product descriptions and attract more visitors to your site. But don’t stop there! Keep researching what other skincare brands are doing and keep experimenting.

FAQs on skin care marketing

How can I advertise my skincare products?

There are many options for advertising your skincare products. You can market your products on social media, with SEO targeting, with SMS, using influencers or with content marketing. You can try advertising on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, or buy ads on Google.

Is a skincare business profitable?

It can be done! There are many examples of successful skin care businesses, and a solid marketing plan can help you become one of them.

What is the target market for skincare products?

The target market for your skincare products varies according to what you’re selling. Some brands target the elderly with anti-aging skincare, while others produce products exclusively for men.

Where can I find manufacturers of skin care products?

There are several directories of skincare product manufacturers that you can access with a simple Google search. In the world of skincare, however, it’s important to examine manufacturers carefully. Look for reviews and testimonials, ask for references and samples of skin care products.

How to price skin care products?

Add up your costs: how much it costs to produce the product, plus associated overheads, plus your profit margin. Examine your competitors’ prices and make sure your products are within a reasonable price range. You can test prices on your website to determine the most advantageous range in terms of profitability and sales volume.

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