The world of ecommerce is ultra-competitive. Breaking through the noise to get noticed and drive traffic to your site is a constant challenge. In addition to a differentiated offering, an SEO-optimized website and powerful branding, you’re going to need the help of a strong marketing campaign to be successful.
Luckily, there are many examples of eye-catching marketing campaigns to draw inspiration from. So, to help get your creative juices flowing, we’re sharing 7 examples of successful digital marketing campaigns that inspire us.
Dollar Shave Club
We have to tip our hats to one of the best ecommerce growth campaigns out there—Dollar Shave Club’s (DSC) 2012 video campaign, “Our Blades Are F**king Great.” For the company to succeed, they needed to become a household name, especially with incumbents like Gillette entrenched in the market.
Dollar Shave Club decided to produce an entertaining video that both poked fun at their competitors and delivered their simple message in a captivating way. Combining humor, an eye-catching title, creative camera work, and a cheeky script was all it took to put them on the map. The video quickly went viral and now has over 26 million views.
Since that original video campaign, DSC has released several videos. Their most recent campaign is “Get Ready,” which showcases how DSC products can seamlessly fit into the daily routines of any customer. Maintaining the brand’s sense of humor, the campaign focuses on the wide range of people who subscribe to the service.
Did you know that IHOP served burgers? Well after 2018’s “IHOb” campaign, you don’t have an excuse not to know! Trying to convince the public that they take their burgers as seriously as their pancakes, IHOP released a creative statement—telling the public they were officially changing their name from the “International House of Pancakes” to the “International House of Burgers.”
The campaign went viral on social media. In the first three weeks after the announcement, the company sold four times more burgers and saw a 0.7 percent increase in same-restaurant sales for Q2.
In June of 2019, Nike released their “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring footballer Colin Kaepernick. This was after his highly publicized fight against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. The campaign’s video, narrated by Kaepernick, is filled with inspirational stories of athletes who defied odds and saw great success.
While somewhat controversial considering the company made a political stance, the campaign was clearly successful – Nike gained 170,000 Instagram followers from it, and the advertisement on YouTube garnered more than 27.4 million views.
But that’s not all. Later in that month, the Women’s Soccer World Cup began and Nike jumped on the opportunity to give their “Dream Crazy” campaign new life with “Dream Further.” While not an official sponsor of the tournament, Nike took part in the conversation by highlighting top athletes that would play in the games. With a similar narrative as their previous campaign, this video followed the journey of a young soccer player with the dream to compete in the World Cup and with the company’s faith, she’d achieve that goal.
Emotional marketing works. Because emotions greatly influence our decisions, we’ve seen campaigns that tug at our heart-strings realize much success. This includes American Eagle’s “Aerie Real” campaign.
In 2014, American Eagle’s Aerie brand was one of the first businesses to make the promise to consumers that they would use un-photoshopped, un-airbrushed models, with the goal to highlight real women, in their “Aerie Real” campaign.
And it paid off—sales grew 20% by the end of 2015. But the reason for success wasn’t just the promise, it was the execution of the campaign and the emotional attachment audiences had to it. Aerie not only use unedited models, but also highlighted seen and unseen disabilities and conditions underrepresented in fashion (including surgery scars, wheelchairs, and colostomy bags).
They weren’t done there. Using social media to bolster their reach, Aerie developed the hashtag #AerieREAL to empower and encourage their customers to share their pictures wearing Aerie products. This made their current audience feel supported and amplified the retailor’s reach to women who might not have previously been a buyer. This made their ecommerce growth goal of being valued at $1 billion in just a few years possible. Because of this campaign’s success and the power that emotional campaigns have on viewers, it’ still running and the hashtag is still widely used.
Over the last few years, the lodging-rental service has increasingly grown with businesses like HomeAway, TurnKey, and Airbnb all competing with the traditional hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts.
So how do they differentiate themselves from the traditional method of booking accommodation? One approach Airbnb used was to focus on building communities of like-minded people.
To do this, Airbnb leveraged User Generated Content (UGC) for multiple social media campaigns:
- In 2015, they started sharing community members’ photos on Instagram (in fact, 75% of the photos shared were from the community’s travels and experiences)
- In 2016, they started sharing hosts’ recommendations for different travel locations in their guidebooks
- Also in 2016, they rolled out their “Live There” campaign which inspired travelers through images and recommendations to live like locals in their chosen destination
However, in 2017, Airbnb made a huge leap forward with their campaign, “We Accept.” After a bout of accusations that some of their hosts were discriminating against guests, Airbnb launched a redemption campaign.
The campaign paired a video of photos and powerful text reminding viewers of Airbnb’s core message during the 2017 Super Bowl, alongside a social media hashtag movement. It became the company’s 3rd largest driver of earned impressions of all time (over 87 million).
Uber recognized that thanking the people that help keep your business running is important. So in 2018 they began their #BeyondFiveStars campaign—a reference to the highest score a passenger can rate a driver—to thank them. This social media campaign used a hashtag to encourage customers to post their great experiences on all social platforms. From the stories passengers shared, Uber then created videos to tell those recognized drivers’ stories and bring them a rewarding surprise.
To keep the message of the campaign alive long after its end, Uber still encourages riders to give “Compliments” in the app, telling drivers how they made their day.
Since 2018, Secret Deodorant has been vocal about their support to close the gender wage gap with their star-studded “I’d Rather Get Paid” campaign. And in perfect timing with the 2019 Women’s Soccer World Cup, they expanded their theme of supporting women with their campaign, “All Strength, No Sweat.”
The brand teamed up with more stars and added social media influencers this time. They released not only a campaign video, but also added sponsored Instagram posts the stars themselves shared on their pages:
Adding power to their campaign and money behind their words, Secret pledged an additional $100,000 to Girls Leading Girls, which funds soccer camp experiences and leadership training for more than 750 girls and women.
Additionally, Secret donated $529,000 to the USWNT Players Association, to help support closing the wage gap for women athletes.
Now run with it
Now that you’ve seen some examples of successful ecommerce growth campaigns, it’s time to figure out what approach is right for your business.
Take time to think about the products or services you provide and what your customers are interested in. Then, develop your marketing plan and execute it. The main takeaway is to make your strategy your own. Tweak ecommerce growth campaigns that inspire you to make them fit for your brand and your customers. And the success will follow.