Article by: Perry Romanowski

Did you know that the biggest brands in the cosmetic industry are some of the biggest spenders on advertising and marketing? And you know what that means? Small, start-up entrepreneurs just can’t compete when it comes to traditional marketing and advertising. You won’t win a war against P&G and their $2 billion plus advertising budget.

But maybe you can win a few battles.

Online cosmetic marketing

While the traditional advertising outlets of Television, Radio and Print are dominated by the Big Guys, they haven’t been able to dominate the Internet.  And they won’t because success in Internet marketing requires more than just money.  It also requires time, passion, and a willingness to experiment.  These are areas in which you as a cosmetic entrepreneur can beat the cosmetic giants.

So how do you do it?  Here is a general plan that should work.

Find a niche consumer

The first step to successfully marketing your own line of cosmetic products is to find a niche consumer that is dissatisfied with the products being offered elsewhere in the market.  We’ve previously written about how to find a niche cosmetic consumer.  The key for successful Internet marketing of your cosmetic brand is that you need to find a niche that is small enough that the big cosmetic companies are ignoring it, but large enough for you to be able to sell products and make money from it.

Set up your website

Next, you’ll need to create a brand name (make sure you can legally use it) and set up a website.  Until you become a gigantic brand sold in stores across the world, your website is going to be your main connection with consumers.  It will help educate them about your brand and also be a place where they can purchase your products.  In the beginning, you don’t need your products on display in stores, you display them right on your website.

Getting customers

After you’ve created your website, you need to get people to come and visit.  Many brands do this via advertising.  They put up a banner ad or a text ad on a website which gets people to click to their site.  This is one method but it can become extremely expensive.  A better method is to start writing a blog about the things your niche consumer cares about.  For example, if your niche consumer is Bald Men, you can start writing about products for bald heads.  You can write about things like famous bald people, why bald men are sexy, what women think about bald heads, etc.  The idea is to create pages on your website that will attract Google searches to your website.

Chemists Corner is a website who’s niche consumer is cosmetic formulators or people interested in cosmetic science.  So, we write articles about cosmetic science, a career in cosmetic science, formulating, etc.  We think about all the things our consumer might care about and write something.

Over time, the blog entries on your subject will start to rank higher when people search Google.  This will lead them to your website which (if properly designed) will inspire them to click around and try your products.

Building your brand

After you’ve generated some traffic to your website, you’ll eventually make your first sale.  Ideally, you’ll capture the customer’s email address so you can periodically communicate with them and encourage future purchases.   Your goal would be to communicate things that they will find useful and to remind them of your brand.

At this point you should also start developing a presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  But always remember the goal of social networking your brand.  It is to ultimately drive traffic to your website.  Telling people what you had for dinner might stroke your ego but it won’t do much to build your brand.  Social networking can be a powerful tool however, it can also be a complete waste of time if done wrong.

Beyond the Internet

While you may be able to sell enough product through the Internet alone, ultimately you will want to get your cosmetic products into stores.  This will require you to develop sell sheets and visit store buyers which can become labor intensive.  But it will help exponentially build your brand because rather than just selling single bottles, you’ll be selling cases and pallets of product.  By the time you get to this point you’ll likely need to hire some more people.

I personally think that every cosmetic chemist should at least have an idea for their own brand and should ultimately try marketing it.  Most ideas will probably fail but some will work.  Maybe it’s your idea.  You’ll never know unless you try to make it happen.





  1. Avatar
    Anant Bansal

    Dear Perry
    It was indeed a pleasure to read your suggestions. I am planning to launch a cosmetic brand soon and these steps gave me a vision of how to go about it. Yes you are right in targeting the niche market as it is really difficult for startups to compete with big names. If you have any further suggestions kindly update.

  2. Avatar

    Great stuff, Perry! I’m getting as much info on my niche market atm before I set up. It could go so many ways, so I need to make a choice…
    I’m hopeless with social media so looking into some popular facebook-ers and tweet-ers (like yourself ;)) for ideas on how to do it.

  3. Avatar
    Jessica Allison

    Very interesting post, and as a professional makeup artist and blogger who has worked for some of those major brands, as well as for some of the ad agencies they hire, I totally agree with you about the power of Internet marketing. I think the key lies mostly in the willingness to try new things. Smaller brands have less to lose, and I find they’re much more likely to take those risks that are evolving the way brands market products. Bigger brands have a set way of advertising, and are much less likely to deviate from that model (even if they think they want to!)

    I do have to disagree slightly with the assessment of social media, especially in terms of sites like Twitter and Facebook. While the idea may be to drive traffic to an e-commerce site, users of social media are savvy and will see right through constant “visit my site” posts. I truly believe it is those personal “what I had for dinner” posts that creates the unique link that social media provides. A healthy balance of personal tweets, non-linked posts pertinent to the brand’s target follower (ie: “tried a new hair growth shampoo today, hair has super shine!”) and link backs will create a loyal and interested following, and increase the chances of creating a community in which your brand is accepted.

    1. Avatar

      Thanks for the comments Jessica.

      On Social media I can see how after reading what I wrote you could come to that conclusion. It was not exactly what I meant. You are absolutely correct that if a cosmetic brand uses social media solely in the way that I’ve described they would be making a mistake. No one wants social media spam.

      There has to be a balance between using it to drive traffic to your website and using it to establish and build a relationship with your followers. A good rule of thumb that I’ve seen is a 1 to 10 ratio of “marketing” posts to relationship building posts.

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