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[Google] Attract and Engage Customers with Digital Marketing: Case study of Okabashi uses marketing strategies to attract customers and build interest

Previously, you learned about the awareness marketing funnel stage, which is when a customer isn’t yet aware of a brand or its products. In this case study, you’ll learn how Okabashi uses marketing strategies to build awareness and consideration among potential customers. Awareness is the first funnel stage, when customers haven’t heard of or encountered the brand before. Consideration is the second funnel stage, when a customer knows about a brand, but they aren’t ready to make a purchase. Okabashi uses specific marketing strategies to drive potential customers to its e-commerce website and to eventually make a purchase.

Okabashi's logo

Company background

Since 1984, Okabashi Brands has been a family-owned and operated shoe company in the small town of Buford, Georgia. Currently, Okabashi is run by Sara Irvani, who took over the business from her father in 2017. Okabashi’s main products are colorful, moldable flip-flops and sandals designed for foot health. It manufactures its shoe products in a factory that is over 100,000 square feet.

Headshot of owner Sara Irvani

Okabashi places an emphasis on solid company values. One such value is sustainability. Each pair of Okabashi sandals are made of approximately 25% recycled products from its own closed-loop manufacturing process. Additionally, customers who recycle their older sandals with Okabashi receive 15% off their next purchase.

Okabashi employees inside the factory posing with shoes

The challenge

Like many companies, a challenge Okabashi faces is reaching new customers and building interest in those potential customers. While Okabashi does have many repeat customers, it is always trying to build its pipeline of new customers.

The approach

To reach new customers, Okabashi uses multiple strategies including search engine ads, social media ads, display ads, and influencer marketing. Once potential customers become aware of Okabashi’s products, it continues to use several marketing strategies to build interest in those customers. Strategies it uses during the consideration stage include remarketing ads, email marketing, and showcasing Google reviews to build trust.

With many of its marketing strategies, Okabashi includes language with its purpose driven values: local-based, made in the USA, women-owned business, and sustainably-produced products.

Owner Sara Irvani working in the Okabashi factory

Awareness

During the awareness marketing funnel stage, Okabashi uses several types of Google Ads, including Search ads and Shopping ads. When setting up Google Ads, it is specific about the type of product, even down to the color. For example, it will use “coral” to describe sandals instead of a more general color, such as “pink”. This ensures Okabashi’s products display for specific, targeted searches.

For social media, the company promotes ads on Facebook and Instagram. These are typically lifestyle-based and promote the general brand, not always a specific product.

One unique marketing strategy Okabashi has used is influencer marketing. The company wrote hand-written notes to over 100 influencers and included a free product. The idea behind this strategy is that the influencer will connect with the hand written note, enjoy the product, and then make a post with Okabashi’s product. A key to this strategy leading to sales is ensuring the influencer has an audience that is interested in the particular type of product.

Consideration

Okabashi uses remarketing to keep its products top of mind for potential customers. When a potential customer views a product on its website, Okabashi remarkets those products through online advertisements. The remarketing ads display on Google Ad supported websites, Facebook, and Instagram.

Another strategy Okabashi uses to build interest in potential customers is email marketing. A unique strategy it uses is email collaborations. It will collaborate with non-competitor brands who share similar values and interests, such as being made in the USA. Each brand will send an email promoting each other’s businesses to its email list.

To build consideration among potential customers, Okabashi focuses on increasing trust with customers. Okabashi has built up its reviews on its Google Business Profile, so that potential customers can learn about previous customers’ experience. Okabashi also builds trust by sharing its company’s story on social media, through email, and on its product pages. Reading its made-in-America business story builds confidence in the brand among potential customers.

The results

A well-crafted marketing funnel with multiple strategies has helped Okabashi grow its online customer base. To date, Okabashi has sold over 35 million pairs of shoes.

Conclusion

One of the qualities that has made Okabashi successful with its e-commerce store is its creative marketing strategies. The use of influencer marketing and email collaborations to get its shoe products in front of ideal customers is innovative. When considering these strategies, it’s important to note that it takes relationship building. While a business can create ads to build awareness and consideration, partnering with influencers and brands is a relationship-based strategy. Done well, it can result in a win-win result for everyone involved.

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