Posts categorized ‘Content Marketing’
In less than a week, I’ll be attending and speaking at the MITX Great Mobile Migration Summit right here in Boston!
Without giving too much away, the focus of my session, “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones: Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction“, involves recognizing tablets as more than just smartphones with big screens.
Consumers use tablets from different locations than their phones and in different frames of mind. They are more likely to be on retail and e-commerce sites and view more pages while they’re there. A mobile strategy that lumps smartphones and tablets together will inevitably fall short. I’ll discuss tips on how to create a savvy tablet content marketing and ecommerce strategy that capitalizes on these different tablet behaviors, excites your customers, and sets you apart from competitors.
I’ll share examples from Zmags client PartyLite, a home fragrance direct selling company that got ahead of the curve by extending a core catalog shopping experience to the tablet.
Thursday, May 2nd
8:00AM – 4:00PM
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
If you haven’t already, click here to register! Hope to see you there.
Content Marketing is the topic du jour for Marketers this year, but it only really packs a punch when the right type of content is delivered via the proper channel. One of the core goals of any content marketing plan is of course to build loyalty and drive sales—which can be achieved by using fun content right on product pages. When deployed in the right place at the right time, products and content can work together in a way that that engages, adds value, and helps customers along the purchase process.
If you try to force fit content, though, it can distract people from the purchase process and hurt your Marketing efforts more than help.
Tailoring Content for Products
This is a strategy to supplement your product line with content that will be of interest to potential and existing users of a particular product. It’s not, however, a game of match some existing content to the closest product. In other words, not just any content will pair with a product – the strategy has to be in place from the beginning and it has to be created with this use in mind. There are two main types: content for during the purchase process and content for after the purchase process.
1. As the customer is shopping and viewing product pages, related content can feed into the page and add value and perspective to the customer’s purchase decision. For example:
-Studies and interactive graphics
-Product features in article/blog form, rather than static bullet points
One of my favorite examples I’ve seen recently is from Crate&Barrel, which allows you to shop by “story”. The “Shower&Shore” story, for instance, has images from an outdoor bridal shower that allow shoppers to easy by the featured products. But the fun part is the extra content C&B incorporated, including a free iTunes playlist download, custom-designed Paperless Post invitations (also free!), recipes and more. This provides extra value for C&B shoppers so they can enjoy the products even more.
Crate & Barrel product lightbox
Crate & Barrel additional content
2. Content intended for the existing user of the product. This is a way to keep customers engaged in your online community once they’re “out the door”. For example:
-How To’s & tips for the product
-Case studies with submit form for user generated content and reviews
-Seasonal features & promotions
Petco.com features an interactive magazine produced by Purina on the Cat page of the site and the target audience is cat owners who are existing or potential buyers of Purina products. The magazine features links to purchase a few cat food items, but primarily provides creative content for cat lovers, including: videos from the cat’s perspective, game ideas, quizzes and a form to provide feedback. They also link to coupons for featured products.
The Vice Versa, Products for Content
This strategy does not require making new products based on the online content you are producing (might be difficult to get approved!), but means displaying products within your editorial content where applicable. A catalog with a spread that is more editorial focused can still link to products in images or text.
A dynamic product window makes that connection possible, and makes the transition from consideration to purchase seamless. With a DPW, the user can view the catalog, and click on a certain product for more images, more information, and an “add to cart” button within a lightbox. The lightbox can be closed and the catalog browsing can resume, with the item in cart.
Rue Magazine lets its readers shop directly through advertisements and articles, which link back to the sites of retailers with whom it partners.
Much like a storefront might create a merchandising display in order to show how their individual products fit into a greater lifestyle theme, a digital catalog allows an editorial spread to integrate ecommerce seamlessly.
Whether you’re supporting your product pages with related content, or linking your ecommerce to your digital editorial content, the integration of content and commerce can have a major impact when executed properly. Send us examples that have been working well for your brand, and we’ll feature them in a “best of content marketing” follow-up post !
Next Wednesday, April 10th at 11 am ET/ 4 pm GMT I’ll be leading a webinar about the 2012 Zmags’ First Digital Catalog Benchmark Report. The findings detailed in this report are aimed at helping Marketers, Content Strategists, Ecommerce leaders, etc. know what to expect to achieve via this type of collateral.
We aggregated performance data across more than 24K online magazines and catalogs that were activated by Zmags customers in 2012 to establish a baseline on key metrics, including: visitation levels, conversion rates, time spent per visit, and more. Moving forward, quarterly updates will be released to expand upon these learnings – to help you stay up-to-speed on the latest digital catalog trends and developments over the year.
Here is a sneak peak at some of the key points I’ll cover in the webinar:
- More than 1 in 5 visits to online magazines and catalogs are from mobile devices (smartphones or tablets)
- The best-performing online gift guides last holiday season were actually fairly short — fewer than 20 pages — and aimed at specific audiences and segments
- Plus, hear our top 3 digital catalog/magazine predictions for 2013 (hint: ”one size fits all” is a thing of the past!)
Click here to sign-up if you haven’t already!
Here are 10 tips and best practices for effectively deploying online content. Using some or all of these best practices will ensure that you reach the biggest potential audience and maximize results.
1. Use a dedicated e-mail to launch your Publication. Within the HTML e-mail, use a Call to Action (CTA) or Hero Image when promoting the Publication.
2. Ensure a clear CTA to the Publication is being used on homepage. It is recommended to add a CTA, preferably an image, on the home page and add a reference to the Publication in the Website header & footer.
3. Embed the Publication into your website. This will mask and give a more memorable URL as well as give additional branding and social sharing options. It is easy to use our API and embed the Publication into your site (all coding is done for you!) Then, promote the Publication’s location.
4. Ensure the Publication has been fully Search Engine Optimized. The more traffic and referrers the better the search engine rank.
5. Promote from other affiliate sites, website banners or PPC campaigns.
6. Social Posts: There are several Social Sharing options:
a. Use a Facebook App
b. Ensure the content has Social Sharing enabled
c. Social shares can be added to HTML when using a lightbox
d. Social sharing can be added to HTML pages when embedded or when embedded you can add the Wibiya toolbar
e. Talk about your content on Social Sites. URL shortners work well when tweeting content and articles/pages can be deeplinked to when talking about content on Facebook, Linkedin and other Social Sites
f. Drive traffic using Facebook Ads
7. Add a CTA to internal company e-mail signatures that links to the Publication.
8. Promote online content within Offline content using Publication URL or QR Code. Examples might include Print material, in-store promotion, offline campaigns.
9. Subscription. Provide an easy way for consumers to sign up and get the latest content via e-mail, alert, blog etc.
10. Blog & use an efficient Publishing Schedule. Try and focus on solving problems or entertaining. Those are the only two reasons people go to the Internet in the first place. Back up online presence with a consistent publishing and content delivery schedule.
One of the crucial game changers in online commerce is the user interface. The merit of the product, the innovation of the marketing campaign or the size of the deal offered may all lure customers to the website, but it is invariably the interface they encounter that determine whether they proceed with the purchase or go away.
Marketers have always worked hard to make the user interface as attractive as possible. Successful marketers make sure that such attractiveness does not compromise ease of use. Now, with the advent of multiple digital touch points, marketers need to do more.
Today’s marketers need to offer a clean and intuitive interface that not only caters to seamless engagement and discovery for the customer but also allows the customer to purchase without leaving the catalog. While the focus has always been on allowing the customer to explore or share content-rich pages and dynamic imagery with a quick tap or dab, it is time to allow the customer to move the product to the shopping cart with equal ease. In short, the marketer needs to interpose engagement and commerce to the brand’s online content.
Again, marketers need to not just ensure that they provide a rich and enriching brand experience to customers, but also make sure that such experience remains consistent across all devices through which the customer accesses content.
The new Verge Viewer offered by Zmags facilitates this, as exemplified in the latest catalog of Serena & Lily, the seller of luxury home décor products. The company adopted Verve to provide the next wave of digital experience to its customers. The technology allowed the catalog to sport some intuitive features, such as arresting visuals using maximum available browser space, facilitating swipe based navigation wherein the customers search for products by keyword, accessing the required page with just one swipe or click, and more. The catalog also groups products, displaying the full suite of catalog page below the current page, allowing shoppers to browse or purchase items individually or collectively.
Are you creating a user interface that drives sales?
Consumers now access content through multiple devices. The diversity of touch points is not just limited to devices such as desktops, tablets or smart phones, but also to mediums such as web browsers, dedicated apps, Facebook and others. The challenge before marketers is to not just ensure that their content remains optimized across all these multiple touch points, but also ensure that the content presentation, and by extension, the customer experience, remains consistent across the diverse channels and devices. Side by side, the marketer needs powerful analytic capabilities to understand what works and what does not work, and the extent to which the popularity across content, segregated by touch points, actually translates to revenue.
Little Tykes / Play Power, a seller of playground equipment has deployed Zmags Professional solutions to ensure all these, and more.
Apart from ensuring a consistent brand image across devices and channels, Zmags Verge spruces up the catalog and facilitates slick, tablet-optimized navigation. The attractive visual representation of the playground equipment complete with descriptions and pop-ups to relevant links apart, catalog viewers can configure the playground equipment in different colors and settings, visualize how kids interact in different equipment, mix and match different equipment, read social media reviews, and do more, all without leaving the catalog.
Zmags also provides for a truly integrated experience by allowing the consumer to complete the shopping within the catalog itself, meaning that the consumer can complete the entire marketing lifecycle right from initial product enquiry or curiosity to actually making the purchase and even providing feedback, without having to stray from the catalog at all.
How can you improve your customer lifecycle marketing with digital catalogs?
Today’s customers are highly informed and access information about products through various digital touch points (like online catalogs!) by themselves. The role of the marketer is now to guide the customer through the buying process, to provide them with a good experience in whichever channel or medium they choose, rather than dictate terms. This requires a shift from the product centric marketing campaigns to customer centric campaigns, and this, in turn rests on the marketer customizing the engagement with the customer. At the same time, the marketer also needs to ensure a consistent voice and message across the different channels.
Online catalogs as a marketing tool facilitate this trend, which is evident from the experiences of PartyLine, a niche maker of candles, candle warmers, fragrances and premium home décor products.
The company’s online catalog, powered by Zmags Verge, retains its almost one hundred year old reputation of providing personalized service and striking a lasting relationship with customers. The company managed to create lasting relationships by delivering top quality, sustainable and durable lifestyle and home décor products.
The Verve powered catalog, slick in design and optimized to provide the perfect medium showcase such strengths. The rich imagery that radiate the beauty of the products takes on from where the glossy print catalog left and even improves the experience for the consumer.
The catalog, instead of listing each item on stock, lists only a few products with bigger images, and a curative experience when the consumer browses the catalogue. The company merchandises the products exactly the way they want online shoppers to find them.
A preview tab allows the consumer to see the product coming up next, allowing them to delve into it or side step it to some other product.
The rich, in-depth, flexible and engaging experience offered by Zmags PartyLine catalog gels perfectly with at-home parties where the sales agent connects with the potential clients.
How can you use an online catalog to engage your customers?
Comscore reports that as of April 2012, almost 85 percent of US audience viewed online video. An adult viewer watches 21.8 hours a month on an average and this is double the corresponding figure in 2010.
The emergence of multiple digital touch points with enhanced multimedia capabilities has further facilitated the popularity of videos as a content medium. A 2012 study by the etailing group sponsored by Invodo revels that one in two smart phone users and more than six out of ten tablet users watch one or more product videos in a three month period.
Such a steep increase in the popularity of the video is forcing marketers sit up and take notice. The Social media examiner reports that 76 percent of all marketers plan to increase the space of video in their marketing plans in 2012. This is likely to yield good results, with the Internet Retailer reporting that 85 percent of the prospects who view product videos would most likely make the purchase. Those who view video are 17.4 percent more likely to make a purchase versus those who do not watch videos.
There are many reasons for such a high conversion rates:
- Videos provide the most appropriate engagement medium for those who prefer visual or audible communications over written or verbal communications. Such people constitute about 60 to 70 percent of all shoppers.
- Videos help consumers progress to a “ready to buy” state by educating them with product information and specifications. Evidence suggests that people who watch videos spend more time on the website and engage better. When they purchase, they purchase with confidence, with lesser cart abandonment compared to those who do not watch videos. After making a purchase they are less likely to return the product.
- For the marketer, incorporating video provides an added benefit of improved SEO optimization, resulting in improved search engine ranking and thereby better visibility.
How are you using this medium to increase conversion rates?
The success of many enterprises depends on their ability to sell an experience rather than the actual product. This can be done through digital catalogs. In many cases, the actual product would be standard and undifferentiated among the many providers, and businesses would have to compete on providing their customers with a better experience.
Digital catalogs provide a good way to offer an interactive and engaging experience. Overlaying the dynamism provided by the catalog atop the functionality and the rich media of emerging digital touch points such as the tablets brings to life the content on offer, and is a marked improvement from the experience offered by other channels such as the print catalog, a bland PDF page or even the conventional browser based website.
Country Walkers, an adventure travel company offering itineraries around the world, is a case in point. The success of this company’s online marketing efforts depends on its ability to sell the “experiences” such as guided walking, safaris, biking tours and others rather than the basic tour products such as flights and hotel that anyone can match.
Country Walker’s online catalog, powered by Zmags Professional, engages adventure seekers who search for trips online with invigorating photography, videos, sights and sounds featuring activities, scenery, on-site interviews, cuisine and more, offering a near replica of the actual experience.
The underlying analytics provides rich insights on consumer behavior and trends, allowing the company to fine-tune their strategy. Analytics reveal that visitors to the catalog spend more time and have lower bounce rates compared to the company’s website.
Digital catalogs allow marketers to mesmerize the viewers by transforming a replica of the actual experience to the screen. This however is not the end of the marketer’s job. The marketer also has to ensure that the consumers have easy and seamless access to such content. The ZMags Professional powered Country Walkers catalog, for instance, is embedded into the brand page on Facebook, allowing the brand’s Facebook fans easy and convenient access without having to leave Facebook.
Overall, they’re doing a great job of creating a consistent experience for their customer through digital catalogs.
Many brands understand the importance of digital presence and invest much effort in their online magazines. However, such efforts do not yield any perceptible results to either the bottom line or the brand image without a sizable readership base. To attract people to their digital magazine, merely replicating the print version of the magazine into a digital format and providing some hyperlinks are not enough.
Today’s customers are more demanding and seek to make informed decisions. They not only look out for an enhanced digital experience that would make their quest easy and seamless, but also require high level of access and in-depth information.
To provide a positive experience that would attract new consumers and make existing consumers come back, brands need to bring to life the imagery and editorial content of the digital magazine. One way to do so is by making the online magazine interactive and dialogue based. Most online buyers in today’s digital age consider the one-way monologues that characterize the traditional print magazines as drab and a drag on their efforts to seek relevant knowledge fast.
Seamless accessibility of the content across multiple touch points such as iPad and smart phones is a basic requirement. Brands need to go further and ensure easy accessibility and seamless integration with popular channels, especially social media channels such as Facebook, as well.
At the back end, the brand needs to power the online magazine with a powerful analytics engine that would allow them to monitor results and make tweaks based on what viewers prefer in real time.
Today’s consumers are fickle and spoilt for choice. If they do not get the experience they seek for, they waste no time in moving elsewhere. The challenge for the brand is to anticipate what consumers want and provide it upfront, or failing that make amends in double quick time before the consumer gets around to trying someone else.
Audi Denmark applied all of these to good effect using Zmags Professional. Audi launched a new refurbished magazine in November 2010 and embedded the same into Facebook, to provide consumers with an interactive and attractive brand experience through a medium to which they are anyway using. By November 2011, the magazine increased its viewership by a whopping 1500 percent, with three out of every four views coming from Facebook.
How can an online magazine help your brand?