Digital presence is an ever-important component in branding a company. And who would know better than Sarah Kugelman, Founder and President, Skyn Iceland, who prior to getting into the business of making products launched in 1999, well before the world was ready to buy beauty online. Sarah recently shared what she learned in revamping her brand’s website—and how important it is to think big as a small player— at WWD’s Digital Summit: Beauty Edition, held in February at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. The changes she implemented to her site helped her realize an 18% increase in sales up and a 58% jump in unique visits in past year. Here, the important things to keep in mind when building your brand, especially in an age when social media seems to dominate most conversations.

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Sarah looked to several different beauty sites as inspiration when revamping She cited beauty entrepreneur Josie Moran’s site and blog as one that “tells a personal story and lifestyle, it makes you want to be a part of it.” The real take away Sarah said is “telling a story, taking consumers on a journey that will really connect them with the brand.” Creed is another site that’s inspirational, as they create different promotional activities that’s helped drive a 33% increase in their business. Their point of expertise is combining promotions with content, “not just giving something away, but focusing on things that will excite the customer.” La Mer uses incredibly beautiful visuals, Sarah said. “We are in beauty so you need to use visuals that get people excited about what you’re doing.” Lastly, Sarah named Clinique as the site that “took the best practice of customizing skin care at the counter to online.” Sarah’s message here is to aim to “be able to customize and cross sell and try to shape the content to be personal to reach each person who comes to your site.”


GOOGLE ANALYTICS: Firms must pay attention to the data that tells you what is being clicked on—and what is not. “If no one is clicking on a certain thing, there’s no reason to have it on your site.”


GET MOBILE OPTIMIZED: Sarah cited that 72% of beauty sites aren’t mobile optimized, yet 67% of consumers claim they are more likely to make a purchase from a mobile-friendly website. “I didn’t realize how many people are shopping from mobile and as a small brand it was something we could move quickly and do.”


START A BLOG: “Our blog, The Skinny, is where we feel people go to learn about the brand and the texture of the brand.It’s hard in skin care to be visual, how to show efficacy. So we are able to use the blog to convey that.” For example, Sarah used The Skinny as a place to post pictures of Skyn Iceland’s Hydra Cool Firming Eye Gels, which later caught on with celebrities, who now tend to tweet themselves wearing the Eye Gels.


CREATE A NEWSLETTER: “We have an aggressive e-blast campaign to get consumers engaged. We send e-blasts every week.”


TARGET A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM: “Social media is huge for us, but you can’t do everything. Focus on what makes the most sense for you and where your customer is.”


DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Be sure to separate content from commerce. “Make it focused and easy, use social media within the site to cross promote, and make it accessible from the site with an emphasis on strong promotions,” Sarah said.