Internet Trends 2019 Report: 10 Key Takeaways

Internet Trends 2019: Key Takeaways

1. Established B2B marketing practice won’t suffer from expanding mobile use.

Mobile device usage among U.S. adults has exploded from about 20 minutes per day in 2008 to 3.6 hours per day in 2018. But, it’s critical to note this growth has occurred on top of laptop and desktop usage, not at the expense of either.

Laptop and desktop usage rates have only declined slightly, from a high of 2.6 hours per day in 2011 to 2 hours per day in 2018.

Implication: B2B customers are far less likely to make purchases with a phone than with a laptop or desktop computer. This means established B2B marketing practices are not being negatively effected by the expansion of mobile.

Nor are they likely to be in the near future, as the only other platforms with expanding usage are game consoles and other OTT devices like Apple TVs and Amazon Fire sticks (source).

How many B2B product managers do you know who sell on Xbox?

2. The re-emergence of brick and mortar is no threat to ecommerce whatsoever.

As a percentage of total retail sales in the U.S., ecommerce has gone from less than 2% in 2000 to over 15% in the first quarter of 2019. The only decline over that entire period took place in 2008.

Implication: recent articles like this and this hype the re-emergence of brick and mortar retail as part of retail’s inevitably diversified future. But they fail to acknowledge at least 2 critical points:

  1. Money is money: If you’re already selling on Amazon, do you care whether customers buy your products online or in one of their new stores? If anything, this will be good for your business.
  2. Size matters: The amount of retail stores predicted to open in the next five years is dwarfed by the downfall of a wide variety of major brands from Sears to Radioshack to CVS (source). Toys ‘R’ Us alone was operating over 800 stores less than 1 year ago (source).

3. Product integration and association will drive your sales.

  • 88% of Americans report using a second device while watching TV
  • 71% use that device to look up content related to what they’re watching on TV

Implication: if 88% of Americans are using their phones to look up information about what they’re seeing on TV, your products need to be positioned in combination to maximize reach and sales results.

Think about the enrichment of your product pages and the amount of images you offer for each. Are you showing every angle and every feature? Are you providing close up shots?

Placing products in context and highlighting their practical association with other products is critical for maximizing conversions.

4. Word of mouth is the key to expanding market share.

41% of Americans currently use a device to send messages about television content to friends and family, specifically while they’re watching TV. These individuals generate wider interest in your products by telling their friends and family members about your brand.

This finding is bolstered by the fact that a 2017 poll found that at 23%, the largest portion of individuals signing up for new online services had done so on the recommendation of another.

Implication 1: people search differently on mobile than they do on desktop/laptop computers, so optimizing your product pages to rank high for mobile search is a skill you must master.

2 points to think about:

  1. Mobile users often search by voice, using full questions.
  2. Questions address different kinds of information: do they want to buy right away or do they want to know more first?

Implication 2: in the same 2017 poll, financial incentive accounted for only 22% of new service sign-ups and only 12% even reported liking the product.

Because this poll shows word of mouth has the potential to play a bigger role in driving ecommerce decisions than cost or preference, marketing needs to focus on building customer trust and maintaining authenticity.

People want to buy products packaged as authentic experiences they can share on social media.

5. You need to be selling in India and China today.

India

  • 1.34 billion total population
  • accounts for 12% of global Internet use
  • approx. 900 million did not use the Internet in 2015 (source)

China

  • 1.39 billion total population
  • accounts for 21% of global Internet use
  • approx. 640 million did not use the Internet in 2018 (source)
And a staggering 98% of Chinese on the Internet access it with a phone.

Implication: ecommerce operations already operating in these countries are poised to take advantage of the fact that both hold massive untapped markets. And these are countries that have already made enormous commitments to drive provision of Internet service.

Indians already trust Amazon more than any other Internet brand (source), and the Indian government is working to provide Internet service to everyone in the country by 2022 (source).

Are you selling in the Indian and Chinese markets? Are your product pages optimized for them? If not, what are you waiting for?

6. Content must be tailored and dynamic to maximize conversions.

89% of North Americans regularly use the Internet and in 2019 Americans will spend an average of 266 minutes on their phones, but only 216 watching television.

Implication: if your ads and content aren’t optimized for mobile devices and tailored for your potential customers to find them in the spaces they utilize, you won’t sell to them.

For example, Alexa Skills are like apps for an Amazon Echo that can be triggered by speaking a key phrase. Nearly 100,000 Alexa Skills are currently available for download.

This new vocal channel provides an opportunity to answer specific questions directly with a product offer.

Stats to think about:

  • 1.244 bil. – number of Android phones sold in 2017 (source)
  • 2.1 mil.number of currently available Android apps (source)
  • 215.8 mil. – number of iPhones sold in 2017 (source)
  • 1.8 mil. – number of apps in Apple’s App Store (source)
  • 100 mil. – number of Alexa devices sold to date (source)

Simple math tells us the room for growth in the total number of Alexa Skills apps is massive. Getting ahead of this trend immediately virtually ensures increasing sales and larger market share.

7. Grab your competition’s market share by cornering the wearable device channel.

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of Americans wearing electronic devices embedded in clothes or accessories more than doubled, from 25 to 52 million. And it’s estimated Apple has sold 46 million watches since the 2015 launch (source), including 10.4 million just in Q4 of 2018 (source).

Implication 1: This should be obvious, but pairing your products with wearable devices in product page photographs is an easy way to speak to customers.

Your products don’t even need to relate to wearable devices, as customers will still notice the combination.

Implication 2: Wearable devices offer an incredible opportunity for collecting information that can be used to sharpen buyer personas and content offers.

Only when you know what your customers are doing, do you really know who they are, so you can speak directly to them.

Implication 3: This new channel allows for delivery of information, but not if your content isn’t tailored for the space.

When it comes to the tiny screens wearable devices include, less truly is more.

8. Massive ecommerce offer growth has made it easier to rake in ecommerce sales.

Shopee is a mobile-centric social media focused B2C and C2C ecommerce platform launched in Singapore in 2009, which sells over 180 million products across SE Asia (source).

Between 2016 and 2018, the gross value of all merchandise sold through Shopee increased roughly by a factor of 10, in spite of heavy competition from regional companies like Tokopedia and Lazada, to say nothing of Amazon.

Implication: By focusing on an innovative, winning offer, Shopee was able to dominate SE Asia.

But they’re only 1 player in only 1 regional market.

Shopee’s success can be repeated by finding a balance that takes social media, ecommerce, brick and mortar retail, average cost, buyer personas, preferred method of delivery, and design presentation into account. That balance must be struck according to the preferences and behaviors of the target market.

The main takeaway here is:

New companies are constantly figuring out ways to carve ever more nuanced, niche markets off giant platforms and develop them into tremendously profitable businesses.

Traditional economic thinking argues sales would be more likely to go down as competition goes up. However, as customer preference for niche spaces increases, so does the opportunity to find customers where they already exist online, in spaces where they want to be.

To convert customers in niche markets, you must hyper-tailor your offers to them.

9. Images convert customers, not text.

Instagram has 1 billion monthly users and more than half of them use it every day (source). Also Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product, says they intend to focus on driving profitability by turning the platform into an ecommerce powerhouse (source).

Implication: Shopping has always been a sensory experience, so why should ecommerce be any different? By subtracting all other sensory information, ecommerce has to be as visually pleasing an experience as possible.

Everyone selling on Amazon knows product pages should display at least 7 images, because that’s currently the maximum number of images that display on one page. But there are two easy ways to get around this limitation.

  1. Encourage your customers to upload pictures along with their reviews.
  2. If your customers click into the gallery of images, they will see ALL the pictures you upload. This means you can actually display up to 9 pictures.

P.T. Barnum said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” and ecommerce demonstrates it. Every good review posted to your product pages is an endorsement. Every bad review is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your customers.

Also, it really doesn’t matter how simple your products are, you should be taking advantage of all 9 picture slots. Cover all of the following:

  • 1 rich, beautiful main image
  • 2 or 3 close ups from different angles
  • 2 or 3 close ups of highlighted features
  • 1 shot of the product in use
  • 1 shot of the product in combination with other products you sell

10. Tie everything together, and do it with authenticity.

You should have noticed by now that certain themes in this post have been repeated. The fact that these takeaways compliment each other, demonstrates their efficacy, their strength in practice. It also makes incorporating them into your overall strategy easier.

Let’s recap:

Mobile won’t hurt B2B marketing, because converting is all about reaching people where they already are, and B2B customers don’t shop on mobile.

Authenticity means knowing as much as you can about your customers, so don’t insult them by barging in on their Facebook and Instagram feeds (at least until Vishal Shah’s plans come to fruition). Find them on LinkedIn and Pinterest, platforms designed for business and optimized for sales, respectively.

Use images to bring products together, because pictures give you more than the opportunity to showcase your products. They let you show your customers how well you know them. Unlike static product photos, action shots promise the authenticity of showcased reality.

Move away from airbrushed, obviously staged photos toward real pictures of real people really living their lives. Include visual cues, like wearable devices, to point people to recommend products to their friends and family. Associate your products with others to give a fuller, more realistic picture.

Sell in India and China, but without authenticity your chances of success are low. Authenticity means investing in research, asking questions, respecting local cultural practices, and absolutely not selling down to people.

Authenticity means taking the time to create tailored, dynamic content with culturally correct imagery that changes with the origin of the viewer. People from different places obviously like different things, so give them what they want to see according to where they are. Speak their language, and give them specifications in units they understand.

Finally, India and China are where shaving niche markets off giants is most readily possible, because both contain massive markets yet to dive into the online space. They also offer recently moneyed youth, the people most likely to develop and maintain lifelong niche preferences and interests which include international products.

Who wrote the Internet Trends 2019 Report?

Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist who focuses on the Internet and new technology investment, spearheaded compilation of the report. Meeker is a former partner with the noted Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins.

Since September, 2018, she has raised $1.25 billion at Bond Capital, a new firm she started and the publisher of the highly anticipated Internet Trends 2019 report.

Why should I listen to what Mary Meeker has to say?

In 1995, Meeker was working for Morgan Stanley while they were taking Netscape public. During this time she co-authored The Internet Report, known as “the bible” of the dot com boom. At Morgan Stanley, she was also the lead manager on the Google IPO.

In 2010, Fortune magazine called her, “one of the ten smartest people in tech” (source). And Forbes included her at 77 in a list of the most powerful women in the world, in 2014 (source).

So, when it comes to tech trends, it’s safe to say Mary Meeker knows what she’s talking about.

Now that you know where ecommerce is going, click here to see how CATSY can help get you there.

How to Ramp Up Your Online Sales

Struggling to increase ecommerce revenue?

2019 is poised to offer 1.92 billion ecommerce shoppers, that is, if you can get them to your site. (source)

Whether you’re new to online business, or just need help ramping up online sales, this blog has the information you need to make strong choices today.

Have an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy in Place

You can’t talk about increasing online sales without drafting a strategy to guide you to the results you desire.
Your marketing strategy should:
  • Contain your value proposition
  • Cover all goals and objectives
  • Reflect a specific period of time
  • Communicate your mission statement
  • Describe your target market
  • Outline your buyer personas
  • Detail your pricing
  • Include your positioning strategy
  • Discuss distribution strategy
  • Summarize content mix
  • Cover your digital channels
  • Explain the processes you will use to execute the strategy
Your marketing strategy should communicate a clear and consistent message to your customers about your brand. (source)

Extra advice: you can step things up by educating your prospects with tools like webinars, video tutorials, and online chat. Use all of these to guide customers through every step of the buyer’s journey with your store.

Know Your Audience

You already knew that, right?

But roughly 60% to 70% of marketers in B2B businesses know true understanding of their customers escapes them. (source)

That stat alone demonstrates the importance of simple preparation, and the edge it will give you.

So, before even thinking of starting an online business, let alone increasing online sales, you have to know who you are selling to.

Can you comfortably say with absolute authority that you know your customers?

Don’t waste money on inefficient campaigns that yield little success. Know your audience to build buyer personas.

Buyer Personas Must Be Detailed

The questions you need to answer to create strong, useful buyer personas will tend to vary depending upon what you are selling and where.

Here are some examples of important questions to answer:
  • How old are your customers on average?
  • Where do they exist online?
  • Where do they look for information online?
  • What problem do they have that your product can solve?

You should know what your customers are interested in, their demographic characteristics, and the media they use to search for products and services. This will help you select the best marketing channel to communicate your message. (source)

Remember, you can’t please everyone, so keep your offer focused.

No customer is going to buy your product if it doesn’t satisfy a need or solve a problem. This is why it’s key to know which specific market appeals to your products and services.

Customer Experience with Your Brand

Customers are no longer passive when it comes to information, especially product information.

86% of customers would likely pay more for products that come with a fantastic customer experience. (source)

The availability of information via the Internet means your customers have access to myriads of products offered by sellers the world over, all vying for their attention.

If you’re only offering a product, you’re already off on the wrong foot.

There are a million online stores offering products like yours.

To customers, your brand and their experience with it are one and the same. You have to ensure your customer experience is enjoyable and personalized to their specific needs and preferences.

The customer experience will make them return to buy far more than your products will. This is brand loyalty. A solid customer experience sets you apart from your competitors and brings your brand promise to life.

Today’s customers are looking for meaningful engagement, a “wow” experience, from brands.

Customers are loyal to brands that demonstrate a commitment to them by consistently exceeding expectations. The key word here is consistency both before and after purchase.

Your marketing communications must be consistent across all marketing platforms and online sales channels.

Available digital technology is yours for the taking. Make use of it to personalize your service offerings to create a deep connection with your customers. Customers tie what they think about your brand to their loyalty.

This is why it’s important to provide a delightful brand experience across all platforms. (source)

Find the Right Marketing Channels

A mere 14% of companies currently have a true omni-channel campaign in place. (source)

You need a channel strategy that will be the best fit for your business. It should ideally focus on spaces where customers falling into your buyer personas already exist.

1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

You pay websites like Google and Amazon for every click an ad of yours gets.

PPC ads can be Paid Search Ads. These are usually text-only ads at the top of search engine results. Display ads are usually banners on popular sites, blogs, mobile applications, games, and shopping campaigns. Here, images of your product appear alongside search engine results.

PPC is an easy way to sidestep the time required for SEO.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How your site ranks in search results.

When potential customers are looking to buy a product you sell, they are most likely to use a search engine, like Google, to find you. Those customers aren’t going to look through dozens of search results or even scroll to the bottom of the first page.

You have to provide your content at the top of search results to sell.

3. Content Marketing

Provide useful information to build a base of potential customers.

Also known as inbound marketing, you write blogs, create infographics, and make videos to get shoppers to your doorstep.

  • Pro: cheap, long-term approach
  • Con: requires a lot of work
This slow process builds traffic organically, but there are ways of speeding it up.

4. Influencer Marketing

An influencer is someone with a large number of social media followers.

People who pay attention to influencers online think they are credible sources of information. You increase awareness and push more sales by getting the influencer to post about your site.

This channel has become extremely popular across social media, popular blogs, and channels like YouTube.

Influencers are free, but you can also pay people to drive traffic to your site.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Increase your brand’s online sales by paying an external website to generate traffic.

The advantage is payment occurs only when affiliate traffic generates actual sales. This affords you the opportunity to generate online sales from customers you didn’t or couldn’t target.

Affiliates are like professional influencers, meaning they tend to be social media experts.

6. Social Media Marketing

Engage with your customers where they already spend time online.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others offer different ad types to suit the your brand’s advertising strategy. They’ve also innovated features to bridge the gap between brands and target audiences.

The goal is to connect directly with potential customers.

7. Email Marketing

Send marketing content and offers directly to potential customers’ inboxes.

Because it’s interest-based, you get customer contact information when they sign up to receive a newsletter or content offer. Proper maintenance of your email marketing campaign, to ensure the emails are attention-grabbing and sent to the right people at the right time, is absolutely crucial.

Find a balance between not enough and too much, you don’t want to lose subscribers or have them flag your emails as spam.

Choose Wisely

Ultimately, the channel you choose has to support your marketing strategy and how you broadcast your message. (source)

Content Marketing to Ramp up Online Sales

60% of marketing professionals make 1 content offer per day and content marketing is up to 7.8 times more effective for driving traffic to leader sites. (source)

Think of product content as the juicy appetizer that invites customers to stay for a main dish. Not everyone knows how to create appealing content to pave the way for increased patronage.

Create custom content with conversions in mind and build a long-term content marketing strategy.

Your content is a reflection of what you truly are as a brand. By closely managing your product content, you can get the right products to the right market at the right time using the right channels.

Content encompasses every message used to market your brand, giving customers memorable experiences.
This includes:
  • Blog content
  • Web copy
  • Graphics
  • Animations
  • Videos

Everything you create must be useful, informative, credible, and engaging, telling a story that speaks to the emotional side of your market.

This can be an original story, a testimonial of how your brand has made the lives of your customers better, a description of how you solved a problem, or all of the above.

Listing the same old product descriptions and statistics is boring, be memorable instead.

With content, you can also showcase the industry authority your brand commands. This need not be limited to your products and services. Discuss the issues that are important to your customers.

You may not get results immediately, but content marketing will impact future conversions.

Good ecommerce content includes compelling descriptions of product attributes. All sense of touch, sight, or smell is eliminated in online sales. So, it’s critical to ensure your product descriptions give your customers the same feeling they would get in an actual store. (source)

Content Must-Haves

Images

Written descriptions go hand in hand with rich, colorful, high-resolution images displaying your products from every possible angle. Display products being used and in tandem with associated products you sell.

Keywords

How are potential customers finding the sites where they are buying products like yours? Make use of relevant keywords to boost your web page ranking and increase traffic.

CTAs

All content must include a relevant and useful call to action. Content should never just end, it should lead to more content.

Common CTAs include:
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Guides
  • Blog posts
  • White Papers
  • Ebooks
  • Tools
  • Links leading to specific pages on your website
Don’t ever give a potential customer an excuse to leave your site.

An Easy, Seamless Checkout Process

Abandoned shopping carts cost between 2 and 4 trillion dollars a year and it’s only going to get worse. (source)

You may have done a great job drawing customer attention to your brand. You held those customers with compelling content and have convinced them to buy. Don’t lose them now with a clunky, cumbersome payment system.

Increase your website’s loading speed and make it easier for your customers to give you their money.

It’s key you make buying from your store an effortless, painless process. If customers feel like it is easier to buy from other sites or physical stores, you need to look into your checkout process.

A seamless checkout process reduces cart abandonment and ultimately drives customers back to your site for more sales.

In the same vein, it’s crucial to reduce distractions to the bare minimum during the checkout process. Ads bombarding your customers during checkout distracts them and will cost you sales. (source)

Build Your Online Credibility

Customer perception of your business is critical, so infuse your brand communication with personality.

Content goes a long way to assure customers that your brand is credible. Display trust seals and highlight both positive and negative reviews on your website if you have them.

Positive reviews obviously speak directly to your brand quality, but why focus on negative reviews?

Negative reviews you have successfully resolved speak to your brand’s commitment to your customers. Showing potential customers that you’ve accepted returned products, processed refunds, or simply reached out to customers directly helps them build trust in your brand.

Only customers who trust you become loyal.

Consumers will always want to know, hear, and see the comments of others who have used your products and services in the past, before they decide to commit to you and what you are offering. Thus you have to optimize your website and social media accounts, to provide avenues for customers to leave reviews about their experiences with you. (source)

You need to convince your customers that their dealings with you are secure.

84% of customers won’t buy if they think a website isn’t secured. (source)

Communicate to your customers the steps, procedures, and software in place to ensure their transactions and information are safe with you.

Have a Feedback Mechanism in Place for Evaluation Purposes

Always take time to analyze and evaluate your performance.

Doing this will reveal gaps and give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Make use of resources that track the health of your SEO.

This can be measured in terms of:
  • Referral rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Leads generated within a specific period of time
  • Site traffic
  • Social media sharing
Solicit feedback from your customers directly.

Ask questions on social media and encourage customers to fill out surveys about their experience with your brand. Experiment to fix the gaps you discover until you figure out what works best.

Scale up to Online Sales Success

There is no one magic method for online sales success, but be sure NOT to select services that can’t scale up as you grow.

It’s important to make choices tempered according to your future goals, especially when selecting the ecommerce marketing channels that will help you grow as a brand.

Conclusion

Ultimately, ecommerce sales success rests on consistently dazzling your customers with delightful experiences to keep them coming back for more.

Now that you know how to ramp up online sales like a pro, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

7 Steps to Creating Tailored Content to Grow Sales

Today, tailored content is king.

More than 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data are made or posted online every day? (source)

Yes, and every moment someone spends looking at a screen the possibility some bit of content will catch their eye increases. Simply dishing out more won’t automatically get you more customers. Customers are smart, so be smarter.

Break through the clutter, if you want to be a customer-centric brand.

In this post, we’ll explain how to tailor your content to improve sales, grow market share, and increase revenue in 7 easy to understand steps.

But first, you need to know…

Why Tailored Content?

Did you know that 90% of all online data worldwide was created in the past two years? (source)

With all that data, your content is unlikely to appeal to customers if it doesn’t speak directly to their needs. Everyone is looking for product information and content that will benefit them and their needs specifically.

Tailored content is all about personalization.

Make your business one that’s concerned with satisfying the particular needs of your customers to hyper-charge the customer experience you provide. Tailored content is all about delivering experiences that speak directly to each individual customer.

It’s the perfect way to deliver solutions that customers aren’t yet aware of.

Personalized content is the heart of the new age digital revolution, helping digitally-savvy shoppers discover what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, with minimal effort.

Personalized product content helps customers find their way by placing them at the center of the digital shopping experience.

Tailored content facilitates the buyer’s journey, because the process will make more sense to your customers. When you tailor messages to customer behavior, demographics, and searches, conversions become more likely.

Tailored content increases engagement by speaking directly about the personality of the ecommerce retailer.

This deepens the relationship your customers have with your brand. First time shoppers will want to stick around if content speaks directly to them. Content that is relevant to the problem or need they have does this.

Start with research and ask yourself…

1. Who Are My Customers?

Tailor content won’t suit your customers’ needs if you don’t know at least as much about them as they know about themselves.

Buyer personas are generalized descriptions of people who make up your ideal market. But the trick is to make them as detailed as you can.

How is it possible to make buyer personas both general and detailed?

By including as much information about them as possible:

  • Age
  • Behavior
  • Gender
  • Job
  • Income
  • Education
  • Status

(source)

  • Likes
  • Wants
  • Needs
  • Motivations
  • Difficulties
  • Fears
  • Values
You might think it’s most important to know what your customers want to buy, but don’t forget about why.

For example, are they buying for themselves, to give to others as a gift, or for further resale? You need to know whether your business is specific to different demographics or does more business on holidays.

Knowing your customers inside and out speaks to your brand’s authenticity.

You need to know their reasons for buying from you and what doubts they have about you. Also, you need to find out which media they use regularly so you can make sure you’re reaching them.

Find all this information by:
  • Surveying your customers directly
  • Studying their past purchases
  • Examining their account setups
  • Looking at your site analytics
  • Going through their profiles
  • Soliciting feedback
  • Reviewing and responding to comments
Two ecommerce retailers may be functionally identical, but appearing exactly the same will spell ecommerce suicide.

What’s even more important is to come back to buyer personas from time to time. The audience you had when you started your business is unlikely to be the same group of people you’re selling to today.

Who are you selling to now?

Your target audience is at best simply older than they were when you got started. Do they like the same things and find information in the same ways? Alternatively, they might be a completely different group of people, with preferences you never even considered.

And ask…

Who is my competition?

You should routinely visit your competitors websites and social media pages.

This is a good way to stay on top of current trends and gauge your competitiveness. Knowing what your competitors are doing allows you to spot gaps in your service and content to fill.

It’s a great way to come up with new blog ideas.

There are companies, like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs, that provide products like consolidated lists of content by URL and numbers of social media shares. However, doing the research yourself comes with 2 distinct advantages.

  1. It’s free.
  2. You are likely to find more than just what you are looking for.

Doing research yourself is by no means easy, but the price is right, and who knows what you could find? Because research companies provide a specific product, they may not be set up to get you that little something extra you can find by accident yourself.

Differentiate yourself.

Developing your brand has to do with communicating something to your customers that your competitors are not. Your tailored content needs to strategically highlight how what you offer is both different and superior to other companies in your space.

Tie functionality to benefit to sell your brand.

Directly trashing your competition with a long, complicated list of everything you offer that they don’t is going to turn potential customers off. Instead, provide easy to absorb examinations of how your products’ features translate into concrete benefits for anyone who buys from you. Back these up with customer testimonials and reviews.

Bring customers to your website with…

2. Dynamic Landing Pages

How customers find your site is equally as important as them finding it in the first place.

You already know who your customers are and where they exist online. Your landing pages need to reflect this origin. Each link you share should lead to a landing page personalized to the interests and needs of the specific persona you target in that space.

If a potential customer clicks one of your links and doesn’t immediately find what they want, guess what they’re going to do?

Reduce your bounce rate and demonstrate your commitment to your customers at the same time with personalized landing pages. Dynamic landing pages can be set to display a wide variety of different information based on how each visitor gets there.

Set landing pages to change by keyword searched, too.

You don’t always have to build content from scratch to cater to different market segments. Making a few small tweaks to the targeted content you already have is easy and far more likely to pay off than presenting everyone with the same message. Also, if you want to increase lead generation, it’s important to tailor calls-to-action by persona.

When are your offers being made?

There are several time-related factors to keep in mind, if you want your content to resonate more deeply with your potential customers:

  • Are your social media posts timed by channel to reach your target audience?
  • Have you set up automatic emails that trigger when a purchase is made or by length of time since then?
  • Do you collect personal information about your customers, like birthdays or work anniversaries, which also trigger emails?
  • Is your systems designed to leverage Christmas or another holiday when your sales tend to spike?
  • Do your products have a long history or have any of them changed significantly over time in ways you can highlight in your content?
  • Can you create or participate in events that would allow you to highlight your company and products?

You need to offer…

3. Personalized Website Design

Reduce the likelihood your customers will abandon shopping carts.

Your website design and layout can be more instrumental in keeping customers glued to your website than you think. This is especially true when websites are designed with customer preferences in mind. You should offer a persona-centric website experience to make customers feel comfortable and fulfill their expectations.

Personalization of your homepage will increase online sales.

It’s important that you craft your website’s design with your buyer personas in mind. The more your website gives customers what they expect to experience, the more time they will spend there. As a prospect spends more time on your site, the chances of you making a sale increase dramatically.

Your website needs to be packed with…

4. Personalized Product Descriptions

Descriptions are the virtual equivalent of a sales pitch.

Product descriptions answer customer questions and arm them with the information to make informed purchase decisions. With the help of your buyer personas, you can tailor product descriptions to your customer.

Under-promise and over-deliver.

Many sites miss from the beginning by writing specifications instead of true descriptions. Specifications do not communicate experience, because they focus on what a product is, not how it will solve their customers’ problems.

Customize descriptions by including only what customers care about.

Just because you think something is important, doesn’t necessarily mean your customers will, too. Help customers by replacing bland repetitive language with specific helpful information. Also, make suggestions that make sense with what they want to buy.

Less is more.

This is especially true for those well-versed in scanning pages. You can attach more detailed descriptions to address further concerns. Also, use easy-to-understand grammar and vocabulary.

Revisit your content regularly.

It’s going to take Google about 35 weeks to rank your pages. Once you’ve identified content that’s off or stale, update it as quickly as you can. Remember, just because that blog post of yours popped when you wrote it, doesn’t mean it’s going to forever, so update anything that looks dated.

Your descriptions need to feature…

5. Rich Product Images

Ecommerce’s one drawback is its lack of immediacy.

Your customers are not going to be able to pick up and hold the products you’re offering, so your pictures have to do the work. All product details must be clear, so the same hand-held feeling comes through.

Include high resolution pictures taken from all angles.

This will help clear up any misgivings customers have about buying from you. Make sure you have a relevant picture for every product variant, and that you show the product being used and in tandem with associated products.

Here, it’s better to provide more than not enough.

People often abandon purchases because they can’t reconcile product images against descriptions. They need to see highly detailed images, so they don’t feel the need to examine the item in person. Including a variety of close-up images of your products will dispel customer doubts.

Pay close attention to…

6. Customer Ratings and Reviews

Publish all the reviews you receive, whether positive or negative.

When you get negative ones, reply courteously and strive to bridge the service gap. Often times, if you turn bad reviews around, you can turn customers into brand advocates.

Negative reviews are golden opportunities to turn a prospect around.

Have a personalized system for handling complaints and negative reviews. Address each one in a personal manner to show prospects you hear them. Do this even if you don’t immediately have a solution for them.

You can also find out about potential customer questions on Q&A sites.

Use sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers to identify the questions your potential customers have before they even find your website. Make sure that if you use these sites for marketing purposes, you state your intentions clearly and at the beginning of your post.

Nothing erases brand authenticity faster than deception.

These websites are yet another way to find out about and stay ahead of changes in trends. The Internet isn’t doing anything if it’s not changing all the time. Research is the only way keep up.

Monitor social media to demonstrate customer satisfaction.

You could either manually publish positive customer comments and tweets or set up a stream to bring them in as you “like” them. Use these to add that additional pop to your landing pages, as well.

Don’t forget to…

7. Tailor Content by Specific Channel

The average Facebook user is 40 and a half years old. (source)

But is that the same for Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn? Definitely not. Each channel you sell on is already attracting a certain type of visitor, so you can only disregard those differences to your detriment. New channels are coming up and older channels are going out of style, so make sure to figure out a way to stay on top of those changes.

The average age of customers buying on Amazon is 37.

It’s not an overstatement to say you’re unlikely to enjoy the benefits of personalization unless it’s applied across all digital channels your customers interact with. Documents, text, images, manuals and other business tools inform your customers about products and services. All these must include tailored content.

Finally…

Bring It All Together

Nobody’s going to read your content if it’s not informative.

According to McKinsey and Company, the 3 Cs of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, and consistency. In practice, the easiest way to say this is that you have to make promises you can keep and then keep them. (source)

Customer experience is as much a promise as high product quality, good prices, and fast delivery.

Personalized content is your path to improve overall customer experience and overcome the constant stream of new competitors. This, of course, relates positively to sales, because personalized content warrants continuous consumption, keeping customers coming back to your site.

Now that you know why product content needs to be tailored to boost sales, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Grading Your Product Content to Grow Sales

‘Content is king’ is the popular axiom in the ecommerce marketing space. There are many reasons why this assertion is true. For starters, a company’s content regarding the goods or services it offers is often the difference between selling and not. Your company’s product content forms a direct link with generating and attracting traffic to an ecommerce website. Analysts believe product content has a great influence on consumer buying decisions, behind pricing and product delivery times. You need to set up a system for grading content quality and effectiveness to turn lookers into buyers.

Product content bears its potency from strong descriptions of product information. Visitors to your ecommerce website are not only busy, they also have an avalanche of options. In effect, the content for your products and services must be concise, understandable and straight-to-the-point. Therefore, common sense points to the need to have useful product descriptions that meet the mark. These tips can serve as rules of thumb to follow for grading content and writing potent product descriptions:

  1. Have a good idea about your target audience.

The first step to creating a great product description centers on identifying and marking your target audience or market. Knowing your market will help you ascertain the most compelling features of your product. These will attract and keep the attention and loyalty of your audience. At the heart of producing an in-depth product description is assessing the personae of the buyer. A buyer persona comprises the natural characteristics of potential and existing clients. As you construct your product description pages, the following questions should shine a light the buyers you seek:

  • How did this potential or existing client reach your product page? What are his or her interests, hobbies, likes, put-offs among others? What aspects of your ecommerce store would attract this buyer and why? How do you think this person would describe the product to another individual? What features or benefits would interest this person the most?

Keeping these questions in mind enables you to create tailored content that turn visitors into customers.

  1. Zoom in on the benefits of the product for the client

Don’t necessarily bombard your audience with descriptions of features and benefits right from the outset. Rather, after an adequate introduction, it’s standard practice to lay out a structured description of your products’ benefits. You may want to showcase benefits as much as possible. But another rule of thumb is to show the buyer how using your product or service will benefit them.

Remember that a product feature is an accurate description of one product feature. This description should provide technical information. On the other hand, a product benefit tells the customer how the product can improve their life.

Start writing product descriptions by outlining the product’s features and benefits. Think about how your product or service enhances the pleasure or assuages pain points for your customers.

  1. Don’t cut corners – tell a compelling story

While at face value this tip seems to stand at odds with the preceding one, it reinforces the underlying principle. At its most basic, a strong product description should contain relevant details and possess the power to convince. It should pack an emotional punch. Beyond your choice of words and page set-up, closing the deal means appealing to your customers’ emotions.

Telling a product story connects with potential and existing buyers on an emotional plane, rather than a transactional level. Make your story link with the buyer’s experiences by shining a light on questions they ask. Who invented the product or service? Where did the creators draw inspiration from? What challenges were encountered in bringing the product to reality?

Outlining this scenario vividly shows the product to the buyer beyond what just talking about features and other specifications can do. Rest assured, if the buyer thinks the product meets their needs, you’ll get the sale.

  1. Mind your language

Your medium of communication matters if you want to make consistent online sales. Your product description should have the tone and feel of having a conversation with a close friend or family member. Remember that in this circumstance, you are not reading from a prepared script; instead, your tone is natural as you give the benefits of the product or service in a natural manner.

Often, this friendly talk abhors empty adjectives or sweeping claims; rather you will dwell on giving a helpful description that focuses on the benefits of the product.

  1. Go for words that precipitate action

You must understand that certain words and phrases have the inherent capacity to elicit an emotional response in people. Studies show once individuals connect with your products emotionally, chances are higher they will buy. These words, sometimes known as Power words, make your descriptions of product attributes jump off the page. They enter the minds and hearts of your target audience. Some of these words include the following:

Great, amazing, beautiful, blissful, magical, mind-blowing, wonderful, and wondrous

These power descriptions tell your customers your products are genuine. They also convey the idea that they are getting the premium value for their money.

  1. Make your product description easy to understand

In this millennium, time is of the essence, and as people continue to live life on the trot, you can only afford to have a product description that is easy to scan and concise. A study reveals that due to increasing shortened attention spans, individuals will often read only 16 percent of the content of the average product page.

So it’s best to capture all the essentials of your product description pages in that readable bracket to stand any chance of connecting with your client and making a sale.

  1. Search engines are your friends

To further boost your sales, you must get a hang of using search engine optimization (SEO) to give mileage and visibility to your products. The bottom line is that SEO is an effective means of attracting new clients to your page, which is the very first step in convincing an individual to buy your products.

SEO revolves around the use of keywords, especially the kind of words that search engines like Google index as a response to inquiries from online visitors and customers.

  1. A good image drives sales

A great addition to accentuates great product description writing is a rich image. Why you ask? Recent studies reveal over 63% of customers consider digital assets, such as photos, accompanying a product as the primary purchase influencer.

More often than not, vivid photos will show the customer all or most of the key features about your product. They will also appeal to the mind’s eye of the client, allowing them to imagine having this product as a part of daily life.

The above tips are part of the arsenal you need grading content to boost your online sales.

Grading Content

At its core, grading content looks at the means and processes you can take in ensuring that your marketing content passes necessary assessment tests on both qualitative, and to a lesser degree, quantitative levels.

Grading, in a sense, equates to evaluation, and as a business owner, you would need to shine the light on what works continually or not, concerning product sales. Questions that readily come to mind for online businesses should include the following. “Is this ad, blog post, or social post good enough to share?” “Will this marketing strategy or channel increase my revenue base?”

Grading content often comprises taking steps and implementing measures, based on observable market trends and expectations. The ultimate aim is finding the right mix for product content and marketing strategy that leads to sales and repeated transactions.

The following ways are good points for grading content to drive sales:

Place a Premium on Value

Your product content can only go so far in boosting your financial bottom line when customers feel and believe that your product description will do all that it says it will do and so much more.

The latter “so much more” can mean a number of things. To some, the value might be a comic rendition on using the product, a free sample of designer perfume, or a helpful tip on purchasing a home. The bottom line borders on the customer leaving your ecommerce platform satisfied with the thought that they received some added takeaway from the transaction.

In another sense, the value derived from your product content should comprise any material any unique, original, or exclusive content or information that your target audience cannot get anywhere else. So a good strategy is sitting back and taking an overview of your business, to determine ways by which your product can satisfy your customers on many fronts.

Go For the Right Context

Have you noticed that there are periods you experience super bumper sales, while at other times, transactions seem to trickle in a dime a dozen? Well, it could be that you have not given much thought to the issue of context in your product content marketing efforts. No two customers are ever the same, and each comes to the marketplace for different reasons.

Some instances will suffice at this point. For some people, ad campaigns are more meaningful when there are no distractions like an exciting book, hence they are better able to pay more attention. In another scenario, using a comedian to play up the efficacy of a diet plan, may shore up purchase numbers, even as your customers enjoy the laughter.

These scenarios collapse into a term known as Context marketing. In a nutshell, content marketing involves timing your product content communication. You want it to reach your target audience when it’s most necessary. In other words, your product content provides the appropriate content to the right audience at the most appropriate moment. Context marketing also weighs heavily on the specific traits and personality of your target customer.

So successfully grading content should lay sufficient emphasis on providing the appropriate, time-based context.

Meeting Expectations is Key

Your product content should set realistic goals, so that the customer can look forward to achieving their objectives of using the product or service. Your product features should do what they say they will – and on a consistent basis. You must understand that customers have numerous choices for their online shopping needs. It’s essential to deliver a customer experience that meets expectations, and pushes customers to shop with you – and it all starts with your product content.

Embrace Originality

Again, this tip wants you to focus on the areas that your product content can open new doors and give new experiences to your existing and potential clients. Originality can hover anywhere from creating a new type of product or service, churning out a creative design for something that already exists, or presenting a unique mix of two everyday things or ideas or concepts.

If a product offers something new and off-the-chart, customers will often engage in word of mouth advertising to achieve two things: tell of their pleasant experience using the product and make actionable recommendations to other individuals to try out your product.

Raise the Standards for Quality

In the immediate analysis, product content quality involves factors such as eliminating typographical errors and ensuring images are vivid and purposeful. Other considerations will look at the ease with which your business pages load and present information when queried.

If your medium of communication is full of errors and your site is slow, customers may think your products will perform just as badly.

Therefore, you should note that consistent, compelling, engaging and qualitative content increases brand loyalty, minimizes shopping cart abandonment and reduces the number of complaints and returns. Ultimately, a product is deemed just as good as the information given alongside it.

Find a Balance on Length

At every point in your advertising campaign, you will have to decide how long or short your engagement with your client will be. Especially in this age of Google crawlers and SEO. And in most cases, the wants, temperament of the customer should determine how long or how brief your post should be. If your audience wants to learn a 3-second trick to folding shirts faster, then your educative material should not put them through a 45-minute video tutorial. If people need just some contact information to help make a decision, they should reach their goal in one or two clicks on your web pages.

One effective means of assessing how long your product content should be is looking at the demographics of your existing and potential client bases. Are your customers always on the move, viewing pages and placing orders with their mobile phones? If that is the situation, you should obtain additional metadata such as the times spent on each page and information searched for. The knowledge gleaned from these sources should help you craft the most appropriate product content strategy regarding the length of your posts.

Clarity is King

From the outset, jumbled, disjointed product content increases the chances your customers will leave your site. At the very minimum- for the sake of clarity, visuals should complement – and not compete with text; ideas should have the property of easy identification, and design should embrace intuitiveness.

You can avoid enemies of clarity and precision such as using illogical and incomplete arguments, industry jargon, metaphors as well as business buzzwords.

The simple premise for achieving clarity is keeping your message straight-to-the-point and straightforward, so your customers see only the most relevant material on your product pages.

Temper your Content with Credibility

Your content must have the essential trait of being believable; otherwise, you may find that your customers may leave your pages altogether. For instance, promising users will shed 30 pounds in days taking a weight loss pill is lying. However, providing referrals from trustworthy sources and using original, unedited images isn’t. Alluding to the possible is the right place to start in building credible content.

Be Guided by a Rubric

To derive the most from your product content regarding boosted sales, you would need to create a framework to oversee your posts. According to workable global standards, specific content and the form of the rubric depend on associated factors. Your target audience and client base, including consumer search preferences and behavior, all matter. You also need to keep your content marketing strategy in mind.

Reviewers can help provide a third eye, providing objective analysis for increased efficiencies and performance. These reviewers will grade your product content against the following inquiries:

  1. Is there an appropriate product description on the page?
  2. Have you determined the product description free of factual mistakes?
  3. Is the product description free of filler and marketing copy, otherwise referred to as business jargon?
  4. Is the product description devoid of spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors?
  5. Is the product description of sufficient length, clear and concise?

An essential part of your rubric will center on making provisions for reviewers to leave feedback and suggestions for improving your product content pages, to help bolster sales.

Grading Content to Drive Sales Success

A lot can come from grading content, and for every ecommerce business, sales is one thing that crowns the efforts. Content really is king, and if you have read through this article, you should understand how true this is.

Always remember the number of customers you attract is as high quality as the effort you put into your product content. Grading your content will go a long way toward showing customers you care by giving them content that matters to them.

Always look for areas to improve your product content and sales can only climb. Grading content tells you what content to toss, what to keep, what to fix, and what to build from.

Now that you know why grading content is key to growing ecommerce sales, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Custom Content Drives Ecommerce Sales Success

Everybody in the digital marketing business is adjusting their tent to accommodate the increasing importance of content. Some go as far as calling it the “king of marketing.” So, it’s safe to say the amount of content being produced is increasing daily. But how much of this is custom content that meets the goals of customer engagement? Probably not much.

The major challenge in these competitive times is to produce unique, custom content. It must connect with customers on a higher level than ever before. With technology advancing at the speed of light, custom content may just be the answer to solve this challenge.

If your content is the food to entice your customers to have a taste of your brand, custom content is their favorite treat. It has to provide them with an extraordinary experience every time. We keep talking about making an impact, but how are brands going to do so in the light of increasing competition?

Consumers see countless advertising messages from brands wishing to rise above the rest. Are you ready to break through this chatter? Custom content helps brands meet consumer needs much more effectively than generalized content.

Consumers will beat a path to the site that offers product information useful to them and products to help satisfy their needs. They need content that gives them a perfect fit for their needs and wants.

When you make custom content to market your products to specific customers, it can increase traffic to your site. It is not your physical product that matters but the value your products and services can offer to your market. Thus, your ability to communicate the value to your customers can best shine through to them through custom content.

What Does Custom Content Really Mean?

Accenture found 73% of consumers preferred businesses offering a personalized customer experience. Customers will be ready to give anything for an experience that feels personal and meaningful to their specific needs.

If the content is not valuable to the personas you want to read it, it is less content than just purposeless writing. The goal of custom tailored content is to achieve specific marketing goals and objectives.

Your content has to communicate your brand promise to different buyer personas, answering their needs. Marketing-oriented custom content should discuss your products and product attributes in a way that makes them valuable and relevant to your customers. When you become relevant to your existing customers, your audience naturally begins to grow.

Think of custom content as addressing your customers directly. You deliver the exact solution they need. Of course, custom content naturally draws in the people whose interest it piques. This content has to specifically target their expectations.

Identify Your Buyer Personas

“Do you think you know your customers as much as you need to?” is a question that brands should regularly ask themselves. Of course, only continuous customer research can answer this question.

There is nothing you can do in marketing without knowing the consumers or target market you wish to serve. You need to identify your buyer personas because they will serve as a guide to customizing your content in line with their needs. Personas are a collection of the characteristics that your ideal customers have. If your content is not attracting and sustaining their interest, there is a problem somewhere.

The deeper you get into segmenting your customers as a result of differences your buyer personas has uncovered, the more effective you can develop different content that can address these differences.

Often, brands make the mistake of using buyer personas they created when drafting their marketing plan. Not updating these can be a deadly mistake. Customers change and it’s easy to miss a customer segment that might benefit from the products you offer.

Always update the customer database that can make you miss opportunities to serve your market better. Always research to ensure your content speaks to the right audience. Your custom content must change with their needs and preferences.

How to Make Custom Content for Your Products

Today’s customer looks to research to gather information about brands. They make their selections based on content that includes solutions to their problems. In the information search process, they look for social proof. They need to know others also liked the products by finding and reading reviews, ratings, and recommendations. At the end of the day, they make a final selection based on their identity and what will satisfy their needs.

However, before you think of personalizing your content, you must develop your brand such that you can identify and establish what you stand for as a brand, your core values, and goals, among others. You need to figure out what differentiates you from your competitors i.e. the distinguishing service and other benefits that customers should expect from you and strive to promote it to your customers. Marry your brand identity with the content you are developing for a quality production.

Finally, gauging its strength by grading content effectiveness will point you in the right direction toward creating winning custom content.

Personalize Your Website

It is important for brands to help users find useful value through the content you produce. Have you ever wondered why a lot of persons will go to a website and see different versions of the site? That is the power of personalization and it is one that can give you great conversions.

The truth is that people visit websites for so many reasons. The biggest mistake you can make is to create your content to satisfy a specific intention. Lots of websites often try to generalize their content in a bid to satisfy the needs of their customers on a general level.

You can personalize your content by displaying different content to different visitors to your site. No wonder Blair Lyon said: “creating a one-to-one customer experience significantly contributes to customers that are highly engaged and this, in turn, has a direct impact on the bottom line of the merchants. Custom content helps you target content to different people where it matters most based on their buyer personas.

Content customers see when searching for information should not be the same others see when trying to buy from you. Making custom content means you speak the language of these different groups. You have to make them feel like the site is solely for them.

To do this, data is collected about your site visitors and content can be personalized according to their location, the device used, a record of their search keywords, the frequency of their visit, their customer history, and so much more.

Some sites go the extra mile to make the buying process easier for their customers by converting the price of their product to the local currencies of their buyers, reducing the friction of checking out. They are rewarded with faster checkout and of course, more paying customers.

Personalize Your Email Campaigns

Email marketing has become much more popular as a cost-effective channel that encourages long-term interactions between a brand and its customers and helps build brand awareness. As we already know, email marketing is a communication channel where our content can shine through to targeted prospects. Customize your emails to your individual customers.

Users express a desire for further interaction when they subscribe to an email list. The major obstacle is getting the customers to accept to subscribe to your brand. Custom content specifically designed for their needs and wants can get their foot in the right place.

Through email marketing, brands have the opportunity to interact with customers where it matters most – their inbox, which they often check on a daily basis. Care should be taken to ensure that they are not bombarded with too many messages to avoid being sent to spam.

The most important thing to note is that you should ensure that relevant product content will always keep them expecting more. Email marketing also affords brands the golden opportunity of getting their message across to customers directly and on a regular basis. Hence, the tone of the message and the content matters a lot. Apply personal touch across all correspondences sent across from welcome mail to future email correspondence.

Personalize Your Social Media Campaigns

Social media platforms are popular media platforms to increase the awareness of brands. You need to know the platform your buyer personas make use of. The one that they are most comfortable interacting with.

Make your social correspondences much more personal to increase conversions. In order to do this right, there is need to have the right data at your fingertips. This will help you know your audiences better and target messages to their specific needs. Your content should be such that it captures the interest of your audience at every point in their journey.

As much as it is important to be consistent, do not make the mistake of dishing out the same message across all your social media platforms. This is because these platforms all need different writing styles and content to be efficient digital channels. Discover the best strategies that work best for each platform and use it to generate deeper engagement.

Listen and listen really hard. Social media platforms give you room to converse with your audience and know their pain points on a personal level. This will help you address these problems with effective solutions that satisfy your customers.

Make a decision on the voice you wish your brand to be identified with. This goes to show that your messages should be communicated in a consistent brand voice across all platforms you engage your customers on. This should be in line with the personas your message is addressing. Of course, your voice cannot be rigid or professional if you wish to appeal to teenagers or younger audiences.

The goal here is finding effective ways to engage your customers. It is important your customers feel heard and important. This is why you should answer questions and reply to comments in a timely manner.

The Advantage of Custom Content

Making custom content builds the environment for the sustenance of a long-term relationship with your customers. This is because your product will always be relevant and of interest to your customers and they will keep coming back to you. When your customers are on your side, they can become brand ambassadors and help communicate your brand message for free across all the sales channels they use.

Making Custom Content Increases Customer Engagement

Custom content strives for engagement i.e. it seeks to engage your existing customers and not only attract new ones. It encourages first-time customers to stick around because of the custom content that you provide for them. A customer that initially planned spending seconds on your site will extend the time to minutes and become a frequent visitor.

Personalization of your content is important to the success of your digital marketing campaign because you create relevant and valuable experiences that make them feel connected and understood. You can target messages based on previous purchase histories of customers and suggest relevant options for customers, thereby increasing conversions.

According to statistics from knexusgroup.com, 56% of consumers prefer to shop at retail stores offering personalization. An astounding 74% confessed seeing content that didn’t match their interests was frustrating. On a similar note, they discovered that much more than ordinary adverts, personalized adverts convert ten times better.

Now you know that customizing your content makes it more valuable to your customers. This makes them engage more with you and deepens their relationship with your brand.

Position Yourself as an Authority

Customers spend so much time online and they become exposed to numerous content. Most consumers require content with a breath of authenticity and relevance. They want content that stands out above the noise.

The production of relevant content and useful guides to your target market will position you as an authority in your industry. This will set you apart and customers will always flock to your site in search of information because of the connection that has been formed.

The more you produce relevant content, the higher the customers who will become fanatics and cannot wait to consume your next production. To do this, your content should be accurate and transparent, such that it is seen as being authentic. This can do wonders for your online sales reputation.

To be authentic, brands must choose quality over quantity with the aim of engaging their customers and adding value to them at every interaction they have with you. You need to know your audience and develop content with their needs in mind. Consistency is the bow to wrap all your efforts in if you want to sustain interest and reduce customer churn.

Increases Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the peak most brands hope to achieve. When customers are loyal to you, it shows that you have succeeded in attracting and nurturing them much more than competitors.

Customers are more likely to take a content that engages them viral so that others can appreciate it too.

Personalized experiences are naturally more engaging and memorable to your audiences, which can drive customer loyalty. Personalized experiences become easier to produce with the availability of data that the advent of digital mobile channels brought upon us. Thus, ecommerce retailers have ample opportunity to gather data about their customers from the different channels that they interact with and create a seamless customer experience.

Deep insights can be gathered from the data collected and through this, buyer personas are created. This will help firms understand their customers better and predict their preferences, thus provide content well suited to satisfy their needs.

We all know that customer loyalty is a hard currency to earn and it takes dedicated effort to gain it. Loyal customers will go far and beyond for brands they love and keep buying. Personalized and custom content can help you get them buzzing about your brand and all it stands for.

Increase Brand Visibility

In this current modern digital world, brand visibility is easier to get. This is because technology has made it easier for brands to engage directly with customers, obtaining feedback quickly in return.

With the internet, it becomes quite easy to make content available to a large number of people. The good side of it is that customers can get quick access to yours. The bad side is that they become cynical, having been exposed to defective and unappealing content. This is where custom content comes in. To make you stand out from your competitors, increasing the awareness of your brand.

The production of custom content attracts and satisfies customers, thus increasing the visibility of brands through recommendations and referrals. Creating content that is made specifically for customers can increase the chances that they will spread the word about you.

Your brand visibility increases when the people you write actually read the information you have to give. Custom content is quite different from disjointed text, producing markedly different results.

Finish Strong

As a brand, you may have produced the best content in the world but it seems not to be producing the desired results. It could be attributed to the fact that your content may be too generic without targeting any specific customer group. Thus, it always fails to connect to anybody, leading to poor conversion rates.

Customers desire content that shows them that you took the time out to know their needs because it is targeted at those needs. You need to get information that will be relevant and valuable to your customers to them. If this is done, it will help increase their engagement and deepen connections. This is why data is becoming a necessity to champion content marketing and personalized offerings.

Brands that stick to the memory of customers are those that deliver on their customers’ expectations in moments that matter to them. Often times, brands may not know the exact time that it will matter most to the customers. This is why it is important to ensure that there is consistent quality service delivery across all touch points with them.

Remember, no matter how customized your content is, you cannot go far without a solid content marketing strategy in place. A content marketing strategy will help you to be better prepared to deliver content that will form lasting impressions in the mind of your customers.

Now that you understand how important custom content is to a successful ecommerce business, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

How Important Is Product Content to Your Ecommerce Business? Shocking Stats

Quality product content, which plays a crucial role in the success of ecommerce business, is one that is highly underestimated. Consumers are looking for accurate, reliable, robust descriptions with lots of product information. These are only complete if they include the information customers need to make buying decisions. A lack of content indirectly tells customers their demands are unrealistic. This is a bad impression to give to your customers, especially first-time buyers.

Consumers, according to statistics, use the Internet and web-related content to search for information on companies, products, and services. This is true even more so than with traditional and conventional advertising media. Proactive firms move with trends to deliver top-notch, compelling product content that draws customers to their ecommerce stores.

Your content cannot be dry and bland. It is a reflection of who you are as a brand and what you represent. Anyone can write content, but not everyone can write compelling content, armed with the power to command the attention of anyone that comes in contact with it. Your content must be simple and easy to understand.

This should give you an idea of how important product content really is and why you should not compromise on delivering this content to all your digital channels.

The Importance of Identifying Buyer Personas

Product content for a wrong group of persons is as useful as no content. A common mistake firms make is incorrectly identifying your target market or not having complete information about them. Create custom content to reach a specific group and industry specific content to target a given type of business.

Brands should learn the act of speaking to your target market using their own language. What do I mean by this? It is not enough to have cosmetics, for example, for sale. But it must sell in a way that communicates how it can solve their problems. I dare ask; “how will you know the solutions to their problem if you do not know them well enough”?

You need to identify the interests, demographics, along with the product, services, and media used by your buyer personas. Their search patterns are also critical to know.

The beauty of websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is they give you access to information about customers. They also provide you with insights into their daily lives. A brand can use this information to its advantage to personalize customer experience.

If this is too complex, craft your copy bearing in mind the words your target market will use in its description. You will be able to write more personalized copies that will get you positive results.

The Importance of Social Media

The importance of social media has been largely underestimated. The perception of social media has definitely improved in recent years and the public is very interested in it; hence there is need to manage your social media presence.

I’ll let you in on a fact; there are over ten million Facebook “apps” with 23% of Facebook users checking their account at least five times a day. Remember LinkedIn? Well, it has over three million company pages with over one billion endorsements.

According to Search Engine Journal, by 2013, there were more than fifty-eight million tweets per day with a per-second tweet of 9,100 and about 222 million watching other people’s tweets. One can only imagine the numbers today.

There is a dynamic change in the web with increasing digital technologies and customers are evolving with it. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and a host of many other have changed communication from what it used to be. Proactive firms are moving with the trend and do not seem to be slowing down.

The outstanding fact is that all these platforms and networks are free to join and quite popular which brings a wealth of opportunities for brands.  The hype about these platforms is getting louder and businesses need to shine brightly with their product content in order to create buzz about their products and services.

When a brand has accurately studied their target market buyer personas and understand their needs and wants, it’s easy to make custom content for specific groups. What’s more important, making that content stand out from the competition’s also becomes easier.

Andrew Boars of Adotas gave an accurate description of custom content where he said “custom content is the creation of content meant to build affinity with your existing audience. This content would reinforce the brand, communicate the value of the product and create new opportunities. Custom content is the creation of branded content for a customer. And for the most part, it is created for the client to communicate with their own existing customers”.

The Importance of Product Description

When we talk about product content, we cannot ignore the importance of describing product attributes. This is the information customers will make the most use of, with regard to your product. Simply putting it, your product description can either increase your online sales or make you lose them.

There is power in enticing and well-crafted product description; the kind that is unique and ultimately sells the product. Your ecommerce store removes the possibility of physically touching and feeling your products; hence customers will have to rely on your product description to be able to do that in their mind’s eye.

Here is a shocking statistic. Google lowers your website’s ranking when you constantly duplicate content. This is why originality of your product content is the key to increasing your ratings and rankings. Low rankings translate to low visibility as customers will not be able to see or have access to your product information and make a purchase from you.

An interesting product catalog, with unique product descriptions, high quality visuals, and an easily navigated interface enhances your customers’ browsing experience.

Do not fall into the trap of just listing product features; make sure you also attach the benefits of such feature and how it fits perfectly as a solution to their problems, thus improving their lives.

Never underestimate the power visuals can add to your product descriptions. The addition of visual digital assets like high-quality images, video presentations, tables, bold text, and bullet points will go a long way than an ordinary text will.

The idea is not the writing of lengthy descriptions, but adapting the mantra; “less is more”. Reduce lengthy descriptions that can be easily summarized and use pointers to make emphasis on the products’ unique selling point (USP).

There is no product that an engaging description cannot be crafted for; even the seemingly “boring” ones. You can hire professional copywriters who can make interesting copies for your brand’s content marketing.

There should be proper proof-reading and editing of your product description copy to make it professional and positively impress your customers.

When your product descriptions can effectively take the place of sales assistants, you can say you have done your part as a brand. While oral presentation is to the offline store, written words are for the online store. Use this to your advantage and make it count!

Shocking Stats on Online Reviews

Statistics show that more than 88% of online shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase decision with 40% forming an opinion about a product on reading about one to three reviews. Online reviews are important as it affords customers the opportunity to share their experiences with the products. Of course, we all know that customers are quick to broadcast their experiences to the web. This is especially true if they are dissatisfied.

A survey conducted by Dimensional Research revealed 90% of its 1,046 respondents claimed positive reviews influenced their buying decisions. 86% stated the opposite, that negative reviews influenced them.

This does not diminish the importance of negative reviews as it is a golden opportunity for firms to improve their operations and turn angry consumers into loyal customers. One review can be shared across social media and the web in general; further increasing the visibility of a brand and generating sales leads.

Online reviews generated because of your product content and their positive experience are great ways to develop online presence. Consumers will want to know your business provides positive experiences before they buy. Online reviews provide them with that knowledge. Hence, businesses should encourage reviews and recommendations from their customers. Because this can have a major impact on the visibility and overall growth of your business.

This is why you need to deliver compelling content infused with your brand promise. If you do, customers are more likely to leave positive reviews.

Product Content Consistency and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I came across a quote by McKinsey & Company, “the 3 Cs of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, and consistency.” The fact that product content is important is no longer a topic for debate. However are we ready to invest adequate time and effort into it? Unless a firm is willing to invest in its content, it cannot reap the ROI sure to come.

The best way is consistency in creating the right content and promoting it to the right target market. You cannot do any marketing activity on the web without a compelling and attention-worthy product content. A study conducted by eMarketer revealed that about 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content a day. This goes to show how important product content really is.

You may wonder why you need to invest time in your product content when traditional media provides similar results. But a DemandMetric study revealed content marketing actually costs 62% less than traditional marketing. It also generated three times as many leads. While the importance of advertising in traditional media is valid, your product content has a higher possibility of turning your customers into brand loyalists.

Through SEO, your rankings on search result pages, like Google, will be high and consistency in the creation of great product content will help you maintain that ranking. The major focus of SEO is increasing the relevance and authority, or quality and popularity, of your website. For your site to be optimized, it must use title tags displaying short previews of specific pages, metadata descriptions of pages to be seen on search pages, headlines, and body copy. Using keywords in the your content is also critical.

Oftentimes, marketers understand product content and SEO as separate. These actually blend together. We can go as far as saying that a symbiotic relationship exists between the two of them. While SEO can bring in the demands, your product content can fulfill those demands and keep customers coming for more. Your product content boosts your SEO and your SEO is all about your content.

Content is indeed king as SEO cannot thrive without it. In other words, your SEO dreams can only become reality if you deliver top-notch product content worthy of earning repeat customers. These customers must be willing to spread the word for you. For you to succeed in ecommerce, there must be a perfect blend between the two. They must also both complement each other. There’s really no shortcut to doing this.

No matter the angle you look at it from, everything still boils down to your product content.

How Product Content Influences Consumer Product Purchases

Competition is increasingly fierce these days and the goal of customers noticing you is as hard to achieve as ever. The best way to achieve this is through the use of engaging content, especially in the digital world of today’s modern sales channels.

A good site lacking in great product content is one that does not see the need to reinforce the connection between their customers and the brand. This is because the existence of good content draws the consumers in; long enough to continue reading, discovering and clicking, longing to have the brand experience you are communicating to them.

The larger firms today are not capitalizing on their content because they know the benefits they are sure to derive. Through content, small startups have the opportunity to compete on a global scale with established brands on the web, scaling over the hurdles they may have encountered in the era before digitalization. There is no limit to the reach of content. Large companies, knowing there is an increase from all angles, are increasingly placing their bets on content marketing.

Content has the power to root a product in the minds of consumers, thus generating leads for the firm. The consistency of good content will generate interest in your site, making referral a possibility.

The production of informative, accurate, and valuable industry content will communicate your authority to your customers, building trust. By constantly feeding your customers with engaging content, they have a reason to invest in your brand. Of course, this investment could be their time, effort, or money. All of these can result in a customer becoming loyal for life.

Customer Loyalty is the End Goal

There is a need for emphasis on this point; the fact a brand has attracted buyers to their site doesn’t necessarily guarantee they’ll remain customers for life. You may argue that getting customers can be a difficult task compared to keeping them, but this isn’t true in the competitive digital space.

These times call for more personalized offerings solving the needs of customers. This is especially true for brands that want to achieve deeper customer engagement. Through your content, you communicate your expertise in a particular field and build customer trust in your customers. This trust will eventually translate into loyalty. Customer loyalty is reflected in a customers’ willingness to make repeat purchases from your brand, which is of high importance to a brand’s success.

Customer loyalty should be seen as a top strategic priority in firms, with emphasis on creating digital experiences that will be unique. When brands can surpass customers’ expectations and delight them, they will be turned into your biggest advocates. Brands that have customer loyalty as their end goal are well on their way to the top and will have a greater competitive advantage.

Studies show getting a new customer is six to seven times costlier than keeping an old one. So the goal should be turning existing customers into loyal ones, while still scouting new prospects. Remember, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, “loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.”

Deliver great content that offers a superb brand experience that makes you stand out from the crowd.

An Engaged Shopper Is a Happy Customer

Your content should help you establish an emotional connection with your customers. The solution using your product provides is the essence of your brand offer.

Few brands understand the power they have through their product descriptions; this is why you find descriptions of one sentence or nothing at all. How do you convince your customers you are the best solution to their problems? Words used and information conveyed matter a lot.

For your descriptions to be persuasive, it should be unique and specifically tailored to your target market. It should also communicate key product selling points and necessary information. And it should do this in an easy to read format the customer understands. If customers do a quick scan, they should understand everything quickly.

The truth is product content isn’t just about writing compelling descriptions. You have to supply your customers with all the information they need to make decisions. These decisions should also add value to their lives. This will help you build a brand that will stand the test of time.

Grading content as you create and post it will help you identify which needs improvement and which you should delete.

I do not think finding customers is the problem; they are everywhere once you define who your target market is. The challenge is to create tailored content compelling enough to make them want to know more about your product offerings. Do this by taking care of the key elements that make up engaging content. Finally, wrap them in the bow of consistency.

Finally, you have no excuses as a brand not to provide a tailored and personalized content experience. It must also be captivating enough to interest your customers. After all, as they say, an engaged shopper is a happy customer!

Now that you know how important product content is in ecommerce, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Identify Keywords to Sell Your Products

The online store is the song on every shopper’s playlist. And yes, this translates to increased competition when customers search for products. Every customer search returns thousands of pages of results. You can’t afford to be anywhere but at the top of that first page. If you want to be successful in ecommerce, you must identify keywords to sell them.

With the right knowledge and skills, brands can take advantage of the opportunities that keywords present. The concept of a keyword is pretty easy to understand. And you can make them work for your brand to put your site where your customers will see it.  Keywords are in everything shoppers do online. People use keywords to search for general information and specific solutions to the problems they face.

Keywords fall under the umbrella of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Good SEO is critical to the success of your business and attaining your goals. You may have heard of SEO but how to use it to boost your ranking isn’t easy. Well, you have come to the right place as we explore this in this post with a focus on keywords.

While it’s amazing to be on the first page, even businesses in that leading position have to work to maintain position. This is why the higher you are at the top of search results, the greater the traffic you enjoy.

It is not enough to identify keywords. It’s also necessary to identify the right keywords to drive customers to your site. Otherwise, you are just wasting resources. Thus, finding the right keywords for your site is highly important.

What Are Keywords Anyway?

A search on Google will reveal definitions of keywords being part of the metadata of a web page which search engines match to the appropriate search query. If that is a little bit complex, I’ll break it down for you.

We all know that consumers go-to for product information are search engines like Google, Ask, Bing, among others. Every one ha typed in words in the search for information about literally anything. Think of keywords as those phrases and sentences that are peculiar to a particular brand that a customer searches for. The higher the ranking of a particular keyword, the higher people are searching for it. They are the words or phrases that show the contents of a page to customers.

A lot of products can get lost in a sea of so many alternatives and optimizing your keyword will help improve visibility for your brand. Hence, care should be taken to ensure that this is done from the title of your page right down to description of your product attributes. Keywords can also be used in Meta descriptions and image tags.

Keywords are identifiers that can be used in locating information in which specific words are contained in. It can also be seen as terms that are used in the consumers’ search for answers and products to provide solutions to the problems they face. This is why it goes a long way in communicating your offer and what you stand for.

Keywords Are Important

Before we delve into understanding how to identify the keywords that can sell our products, it is necessary to explore the importance keywords play in the sales of our products because they do matter.

Keywords afford a business the tantalizing opportunity to increase its accessibility. This is because it helps customers to easily locate your product out of a whole lot of options. The increased brand visibility a firm enjoys will further lead to increased site traffic, which in turn leads to higher online sales.

Think of keywords as the crumbs that show you the path to take because they give an insight into what is contained on a given page. Through your keywords, the purpose of your site is communicated to the customers and search engines.

The right keywords will go a long way to help produce great product content that is understandable and will easily convert. The identification of the keyword suitable for your target audience will deepen the connections that customers have with your brand since this custom content will address their specific needs.

How to Identify Keywords and Sell Your Products

First things first. There is need to take advantage of opportunities that can help you identify new keywords that will be relevant to your business. Now, you have probably understood just how important keywords can be, it is time to effect changes.

Research, Research, Research

Research covers your customers and your business. You have to do this critical research properly to obtain the best results. No matter the niche you specialize in, you have to do adequate keyword research to identify opportunities to drive traffic to your site and attract sales.

Conduct research into your business to understand how your industry works and its competitive practices. All these will help you define your target market and the way your business can best satisfy your customers’ needs.

There is nothing like “too much research” when it comes to understanding your customers and knowing what makes them tick. You must always carry out research if you want to grow as a firm. The proper research of customers will expose you to the search terms that are often used by them. This will go a long way in structuring yours so that your products and site can be easily found by your target customers.

Your customers can be observed to ensure the keywords you use have the capacity to attract them to your site. Buyer personas can be created to enable brands get more information about who they sell to and personalize the customer experience across all touch points. Think like a customer and put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself what they will search for if your tailored content comes to mind.

You need to ask yourself if the keyword is relevant and if it connects to your site. Your customers can supply you with information pertaining to keyword ideas. What comes to their mind when they are talking about your brand? Are there specific words they use? All these and many more are questions that in-depth research will uncover answers to.

Asides the regular customer survey and interview,  reviews about your products, the emails and correspondences that are sent, comments and posts on the social media platforms of the firm, customer service calls, complaints and so many other ways, can expose keyword ideas to an online business.

All these should be paid attention to accumulate a bucket of keywords that can be profitable to a business.

The Search Engine Suggestion Feature

A way to expand your keyword bank is the use of suggestions by top search engines like Google. Chances are that you have seen these suggestions and never took note of them, but it is right there at the bottom of your search result page and in suggestions from the search box. It is often ignored but can be utilized to increase the quality of your keyword.

Whenever you key in some phrases in the search box on Google, Google could give suggestions through a list that is shown even while typing. It is a particular feature that tries to predict your next words and save you some time, with a lot of alternative choices. Sometimes, you need to pay close attention to these lists Google makes. Because they can help you to find more relevant keywords.

Google gets suggestions by collecting searches users make around the world. They also look at advertisements in their network and sites in their index to produce varieties of results. Of course, it is not every keyword that may be useful to your business, hence there must be screening and careful selection of relevant ones.

For all these suggestions by Google, search volumes are associated with them. They must be compared to each other to select the best that matches your need and can perform the function you want it to.

Online Keyword Tools

There are tools that can be found online which will go a long way to help you monitor your keyword searches and make changes if defective. Some of these tools can go a long way to generate relevant keywords across any subject or topic, across interfaces that are quite easy to access and navigate.

There are many online keyword tools available to achieve this purpose. However, in the course of this post, we make particular reference to the Google Keyword Planner Tool. The tool can provide information and statistics on searches for a particular keyword. Also, you can discover more about the competitors using them and related search terms.

Options include the ability to search for trending new keywords related to your products, services, and industry in general. Also included is the ability to create keyword combinations and projections with regard to keyword performance and search volume.

On information on searches being made, it can help you search for new words and phrases, suggesting new keyword ideas for your optimization needs. It also helps a business to know the competition level for specific keyword choices. Some keywords have low competition levels while some are high especially when the number of people bidding for it is on the high side. These keywords with high competition attract increased cost because their use will be expensive if you are looking to get ahead (and remain tops) in search result pages.

This is a particularly useful tool as it compiles keywords different people enter with Google. It gives one an opportunity to compare keyword trends, thus helping plan your marketing strategy.

The Google Keyword Planner tool can help businesses target people near you. It also offers customization features to achieve this with a minimal marketing budget.

Fit Keywords into the Bigger Puzzle

It is not enough to obtain keywords from all these sources. You also have to figure out how they relate to each other. Keep expanding and adjusting the keywords till you find what you are looking for. Get rid of keywords not related to the products you are selling or your business.

Furthermore, look out for keywords that are highly competitive and remove them. You do not want to lose visibility because a lot of firms are competing for it. Select keywords that have low competition but high search volume, to optimize them and generate revenue for your business.

There are criteria you can use to select keywords that will sell your products. Some of them include search volume, the way the keyword fits in with your product, the commercial purpose the keyword should achieve and the level of competition.

Looking at the search volume, we consider how often customers search a given keyword. It reveals the number of searches for a particular keyword over a specific period of time. “What is the point of having a keyword if no one will type it on search engines?” I dare ask! It is important to note that some keywords have seasonal variations in terms of search volume. There needs to be a balance between common keywords and keywords most popular during holidays, and if these are different.

The way the keyword fits with the product is another consideration to make when it comes to choice of winning keywords that can drive sales. Your search rankings will be higher when the keywords you use are a fit with your offerings and relevant to the products you are selling.

Commercial intent is another criterion that comes to mind here. Imagine a scenario where all searchers that come to your site have no intention to make purchases; I bet it will be disastrous and will reduce your profits. Your keywords should be searched against its commercial intent so that keywords that will make customers want to buy are used.

Level of competition is another criterion to consider when making keyword choice. Some keywords are just so competitive with a one-in-a-million chance of breaking through in ranking high. It shows how difficult it may be to rank high with the use of specific keywords. Let us face facts; we all know that few persons search past the first ten pages of Google, for example.

Integrating Keywords into Your Website

At this stage, you must have made a decision on the keywords to be used. How are you going to integrate them into your web content? While your content marketer will decide on placement, it is important to put keywords into webpage titles, headers, paragraphs, image tags, and meta-descriptions. These locations are strategic and can be enough to pass the message across.

Title tags are often part of the areas in your site that the search engine bots scan through to present their links on the result pages. Use your most important keywords in your title tags. Your metadata description tags are another important place where your keywords can shine. You have a limited window here because there are character limits for the description. Usually, search engines pay attention to the first 150 characters, so make them count.

You need to integrate them into the website in general. Your headers, sub-headers, body paragraphs, and image alt tags are a good place to infuse relevant keywords to your content so that your message can be passed across to people, even though they are scanning. The content of your page is very important because this is what can draw and sustain people to your website.

The aim is to ensure your keywords fully integrate into the content you produce. But you also need to strike a perfect frequency of use balance, not too much, not too little. Ultimately, your content is for your customers, not search engines. Grading content keeps it fresh, letting you identify what works and what doesn’t.

Put it Together and Sell

We cannot talk about online shopping without keywords popping up; it is very important in information search which customers do on a daily basis. Asides from identifying what people are searching for, keywords act as a bridge between your content and your audience.

The integration of keywords is important to the success of your online business and it is important for online business owners to know how to properly optimize them. Without it, how then can search engines show your website to the right people searching for what you can offer?

It is much more than gathering up some phrases into content. Instead, it requires research to ensure the quality of the traffic generated is on the high side. The end goal of every business is to create relevant keywords that will help their store in its ranking on search pages and increase its visibility. The best keywords are those with high search volume and low competition so that it becomes easy to achieve your keyword goals and get effective results.

There is need to know your customers intimately to know the language they use in their search for products and services and in their conversations with each other. This is a weapon most firms fail to make proper use of. Having carried out adequate research, apply the knowledge you’ve acquired effectively.

It is important for the keywords you select to be related to the product benefits you have to offer. This will lead to the production of relevant content that will be engaging to the audience, leading to increased conversions. Even more, create hyper-focused industry specific content to target particular business verticals.

As easy as it may sound, it requires much work because they must be regularly updated for the improvement of your product ranking. The needs and preferences of customers are always changing so it is necessary to change your keywords with the current trends.

While identifying relevant keywords is important, don’t repeat the same ones on multiple pages as this won’t lead to increased search result ranking. Instead it’ll lead to keyword stuffing, which may do more harm than good.

There is no denying that keywords that sell optimization is highly demanding and will require a lot of resources. But the payoff at the end of the day is definitely going to be worth it. Higher page ranking, increased traffic, increased market share, and increased conversion rates await you. And that is a win for businesses ready to lead their respective industries!

Now that you know how central using keywords is to success in ecommerce, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

How to Identify New Sales Channels in a Digital World

As an ecommerce business owner, you may be wondering why identifying new digital channels is even a topic for discussion. It should be simple that ecommerce business owners use the Internet. While you may have a point, your online sales channels directly affect your sales results. Use the wrong sales channels and you are likely to be less profitable.

A sales channel can be any of the people, organizations, or activities necessary to transfer ownership of something from production to consumption. It all boils down to the sales channels you select which will impact the strategies you carve for your sales channels. A sales channel is basically any path between the business and its customers.

Before the advent of the Internet, selling was pretty much the usual direct selling to customers or indirect selling through the use of middlemen in the distribution. You will agree that it was pretty simple and clear, right? However, all that has changed since the advent of the Internet.

The introduction and popularity of ecommerce produced multiple channels to ease the buying process in ways we never thought possible. In today’s competitive marketplace and with people’s increasing demand for convenience in their shopping and customer experience, a brand cannot afford to make the mistake of relying on a single channel.

Identifying Your Sales Strategy

Irrespective of the sales channels you decide to add to your existing promotion and distribution channels, they all offer different ways a brand can connect with their customers. As a brand, you can use the knowledge you have and the information in your database about your customers to select the channels that will best connect with them.

Naturally, customers will tend to lean towards marketplaces that fit their needs well at the moment. This is why it is important to know which channels will ensure your brand is represented in whatever channel used.

You need to decide directly, through your online store, or indirectly. The firm itself manages the direct distribution channel. By indirect sales channels, we talk about the use of third channels for the distribution of goods and services i.e. the indirect sales strategy relies on intermediaries for its distribution. These channels represent an avenue for wider reach for a business that decides to explore them in their sales strategies.

A benefit of a direct sales strategy is the direct communication between a business and its customers, and the seller has an influence on their customers and the selling process. On the other hand, indirect sales strategy affords a firm the opportunity to expand beyond its geographical location without the associated costs of sales representatives.

Profitability flows from understanding each of these sales strategies fully and implementing them well. However, it is better there is a fusion of the two channels to ensure more reach and greater conversion.

Channel Decisions Depend upon Your Customers

Never forget the fact that customers are the reason why your business is in existence. It is all for their ultimate satisfaction and delight. Your sales channels should give customers the best brand experience and make it convenient for them to receive their orders.

Every business needs to build detailed customer profiles at every stage of their buying journey.

You should also know why your customers are doing business with you, their online and offline habits, and their psychographics.

If you want to sell more and build lasting relationships with your customers, you must study and understand your customers; there really is no two ways about it because the customers are in the driver’s side. In the words of Peter Drucker, “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

In business-to-business sales, statistics show that customers are more educated than before and make 67% of their final sales decision before contacting the salesperson. This calls for more adaptation and flexibility and especially the realization that customers do their homework, too.

Customers have probably come across your products or product information. This is the impact of the digital world where any information can be gotten online. Be flexible with your sales schedule and programs and ensure it is customer-centric.

More Tips for Selecting New Sales Channels

Before I give some channels you can explore to increase your conversions, we will discuss further tips for consideration when searching for new channels to sell through.

You need to identify how your competitors sell their products. What methods are they using? What channel is best for the industry you operate in? Are there loopholes in the sales channels competitors use that you can use to your advantage?

All these questions, if answered, will give you a competitive edge over competing brands.

Examine the cost of each sales channel. Weigh each sales channel’s pros and cons against each other and rank them according to your opinion. Consider the return on investment and rate of conversion when selecting new channels to sell your products and services.

Also, evaluate distribution channels against overall company marketing strategy. Using indirect channels may not provide a seamless customer experience as the marketplace will prioritize their branding over yours, or may charge fees or commissions. However, any sales channel in line with your marketing strategy, and whose benefits outweigh cost, should work. Consider your payment processing system against what’s available via other sales channels.

Are you a luxury brand or mass-produced one? Do you sell common items or unique ones? Do you have a specific customer group or do you mass market? Your brand positioning in the market can affect the choice of a sales channel. How customers see your brand will go a long way to affect the channels they will want to use when buying from you.

Product Ads in Marketplaces

A way to push your product to the market is the use of product adverts on marketplaces like Amazon.com, eBay.com, Sears.com, Buy.com, among others. This can be a good avenue for you if you need to sell your products quickly because it boosts brand awareness and thus, increases sales.

These marketplaces sell virtually any product and sellers using this channel will have maximum exposure. A catalog of your products can be added and a brand can get access to their large database and customer flow, thereby expanding your business across countries, without making you break your marketing budget.

Furthermore, these stores are popular, credible names, like Amazon, which render authenticity to your products because customers forget they are buying from a third party and attach the popularity of the marketplace to the product they get from them.

However, there are some restrictions firms may encounter in these marketplaces. The minimum budget must be maintained by sellers when they are advertising. The marketplace fees vary by product category. In some, there are restrictions on a business owner’s ability to brand its products. The personal information of customers may not be accessible to brands advertising to establish contact in the future. Furthermore, everyone has to follow the guidelines on these marketplaces to establish trust between the parties involved.

Amazon is the most recognized name in the online merchandise sales chosen by most for the sale of electronics, books, among others. Etsy is another popular marketplace featuring vintage or handcrafted items along with a host of other digital products. eBay finds its strength in international ecommerce, with a strong presence in the international arena and an easy-to-use interface. It is popular for its auction style.

In the end, promoting products differs from marketplace to marketplace. Hence, studying and evaluating sales channels before making a selection is centrally important.

Indirect Sales Channels

Blogging offers firms a way to build connections with their customers through the production of valuable and compelling product content. Your content can be informative and entertaining to sustain the interest of your customers. Through your blog, tips, tutorials, updates and so on can be made available. Custom content allows you to focus in on target groups and industry specific content should speak to the kind of businesses you want to approach.

A thought leader is any expert in an industry with the power to influence people’s feelings with regard to a product or industry. Giving accurate information to your customers can position you as a trustworthy thought leader, thus encouraging them to buy from you.

The power of content marketing indeed shines through especially when you produce engaging tailored content with consistency, because this content keeps customers on your site longer. This is the driving force behind any successful product sales: creating a deep connection with your customers. Continuously grading content allows you to identify what you need to improve, what you should delete, and where your content gaps are.

Customer Engagement Channels

These strategies span from speaking engagements, events, newsletters, contests, sweepstakes and public relations to so many others. While it may seem like a waste of resources, if done properly, it can do wonders for the reputation and image of a firm. Remember that customer engagement is all about encouraging customers to interact and share their experiences with your brand. It is highly important because customer experience is the topmost priority.

Brands can surprise their customers with personalized outreaches across digital platforms, especially when they do not expect it. An advertising campaign with freebies and discounts attached can be made based on location, social platform, and specific products.

Involve your customers in collaboration contests to entice them into engaging with your brand. Rewards can be offered for consumers’ inputs and versions of your product.

Affiliate Marketing

This channel involves two parties; one with a product to sell and the other with the ability to promote that product via their contacts and sites. Affiliates are third parties who sell goods to other businesses on their behalf in exchange for commissions on sales. The higher the percentage, the more traffic the affiliate will generate for you.

Special hyperlinks with an identity code track their efforts. Affiliates put these links on their site or blog to receive a percentage of sales. While this sounds really cool, you need to determine the percentage you can comfortably afford.

Affiliates give you direct access to customers you may otherwise not reach. More importantly, it is safe because you only pay commission on sales which you may not have gotten by buying ad space. Thus, return on investment is always better.

Remember to evaluate third party affiliates properly to ensure maintenance of your reputation. Notwithstanding, affiliate marketing may just be the safe boost your sales needs.

Google AdWords

Google has an advertising network, Google AdWords that offers retailers the opportunity to advertise on Google search results page as well as other partner websites. Hence, businesses can leverage Google’s digital advertising products to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their site. There is a pay-per-click cost attached to the service and the ads you want will show up on their result pages based on users’ search of keywords.

Comparison Shopping Engines

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) let customers compare product prices, shipping costs, and product features, operating on a cost-per-click basis. Price driven shoppers often use comparison shopping engines in their purchases to get the best deals.

Product information is collected from ecommerce stores and displayed as product listing advert on the result pages of search engines. Product information is aggregated from merchants registered with the site and all these are displayed to help customers compare prices and product features; all in a bid to make an informed purchase decision. It is no surprise that conversion rates here are always higher. It is a powerful tool that increases your store visibility fueling your brand.

When using comparison shopping engines, tag all product links so you know where your customers are coming from. Furthermore, you should leave out goods that are likely to quickly sell out quickly, as shopping feeds may update infrequently.

In the course of this post, we will be discussing two out of the many that are obtainable in the marketplace; Google Shopping and Bing Shopping.

Google Shopping

If you are still wondering what this is all about, wonder no more! Google search ads are the result of search engine listings when you try searching for specific products with Google. Another way to bump results for products is to include “shop for,” the product name and end the sentence with “Google.” This will display different products in line with the product name. Thus, your product will appear at the top of search results giving you maximum visibility.

Google Shopping, also known as Product Listing Ads, is one that can give ecommerce businesses a competitive edge. This is because product images with the brand name will automatically display, in the place of regular short text. Using a pay-per-click model, individual products are displayed with payment made only after someone visits your website.

Google matches keyword searches with your product, thus increasing conversion rates. However, it is a paid advertising platform. The more you pay and the more relevant your product is to the keyword, the better ranking it gets. There are also specifications to adhere to. All these are important considerations you should take into account.

Bing Shopping

Considerably cheaper than and more of a clone of Google Shopping, Bing Shopping can result in great conversions and gives users the flexibility of importing all Google campaigns with the click of a button.

In the same way the Google Ads work, Bing Ads include large product images, prices of products, names of the product, a short product description, and your business site.

Bing, however, has smaller market share compared to Google, but it is, however, a channel a business can use in the generation of additional sales.

Facebook and Instagram Ads

With Facebook, you can target potential customers by age, gender, geographic location, and interests. This makes Facebook far more versatile than other sales channels. Facebook ads come in different forms – the marketplace ads, page posts ads, sponsored stories, promoted posts among a host of others. Facebook marketplace ads, however, are the most standard type of ads.

Quite popular because of its large audience, online businesses can attest to the fact that Facebook does work.

For firms that have a large presence on Instagram, it offers shopping functionality with a display of product image, price and other product information that can help a consumer in his buying decision.

Bring it All Together

Sales efforts should never cease. Every day, you should look for new sales channels, because your average customer won’t likely stick with just one. They strive for unlimited freedom in their ability to shop anywhere. You have totally missed the mark if your product is not showing up where customers are searching for them.

Multichannel is the new gospel because it allows you to sell anywhere. Don’t get confused; there are no statistics that can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you can sell better on a particular sales channel than the other. However, the sales strategies employed in each of them will go a long way to push sales.

With digital technologies comes omnichannel strategy which affords a brand the opportunity to select the best channels that give the desired results. This is why it is necessary to know your customers intimately; especially how they shop, to know the channels that will be the best fit for your company goals.

After the selection of sales channels, it is important that marketing channels that will best support them be developed. Proper evaluation of the various channels selected is key. Think about expected traffic generation, costs per impression, cost per click, and conversion rates. How is the impact and return on investment? You need to check all of these against any sales channels you want to sell your products through.

Your product category can also help determine the best marketplace for your brand because they won’t all be ideal for you.

A seamless experience should be provided across all channels selected. Customers should not feel a connection with your brand in one sales channel and disconnected in another. Consistency is important to sustain and increase their experiences in a way that delights them.

Now that you know how to identify new sales channels, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Build a Great Digital Customer Experience with Rich Product Content

The digital customer experience is the sum of experiences one can have using a digital interface. The beauty of a digital interfaces, like a smartphone or tablet, is they access so many activities and industries. They bring you to millions of products without leaving the comfort of your home.

When you talk about experiences, people are quick to replace them with customer service. They forget customer service is only an aspect of customer experience. Customer experience is deeper, capturing the totality of engagement that customer has with your brand. This runs the full scope of the entire time she is your customer.

Don’t get confused, I’ll clarify in just a little bit. Every single brand has customers and relates to them, providing them with goods and services which means there is the provision of customer experience. The bigger issue is the level you want the experience you provide to be at. It is up to you as a brand to determine if it is going to be topnotch, industry average or downright poor. Of course, these experiences are highly unpredictable.

We are dealing with humans here, couple that with the fact experiences differ from person to person. Perceptions, emotions, habits, and unexpected behaviors all vary. But even in light of this unpredictability, do we fold our hands as a brand and do nothing? Hardly.

Why is Customer Experience Important?

It’s the truth, someone out there is doing exactly what you are doing. Think about it, someone, somewhere is already running your ideal business. Do you know the only thing that’ll make you stand out from the crowd? It’s the customer experience you deliver. not just the products or services you sell.

Customer experience is the totality of all consumers’ encounters with a company’s products, services, and brand. Well, everyone can get the products from about any good source out there; it is the positive experience you create that keeps them coming back for more and turns them into brand loyal advertisers for free. I will let you in on a fact.

When you deliver experiences that fall below expectations, your customers will be unhappy. When your customer experiences are equal to their expectations, your customers will be much happier. It is at this point that people seem alright to maintain the status quo, but you can turn it a notch further by delivering customer experiences that surpass your customer’s expectations and make them delighted. When you get to this point, you can become the market leader in any industry you find yourself in. Of course, you know that doing this entails learning about your customers and what makes them tick.

To do this, companies have to recognize the need to gain an in-depth understanding of customer’s expectations, what can influence this experience and how it can be effectively enhanced. We are in the era where the customers control the buying process as well as the flow of information.

Technology has made it easy for customers to access information about a company anytime, anywhere and any day. Don’t get me started on social media and its powers too. If you doubt me, try making a customer angry or dissatisfied! Unhappy customers will broadcast their unhappiness with service provided through any means to the world, much more than satisfied customers.

Topnotch customer experience is a brand function every customer demands from an organization. Brands make the mistake of approaching offline and online customers alike. They often forget customers are different from each other. And online customers are far less patient than offline customers.

Studies have found slow page load can frustrate online customers to the point of them giving up and leaving your site. While an offline customer can wait for minutes for service, ecommerce is very different.

There is an increase in online customers because of the ease and convenience it brings. Of course, it’s a lot easier to lie in bed with your phone than to leave the comfort of your house to buy something. The stakes are higher for the digital transactions, because, customers don’t excuse brands for a poor digital experience.

For all these reasons, companies have to invest in delivering a high quality digital customer experience.

Build Strong Digital Customer Experiences

With digital revolution permeating every corner of the world, the key to engaging and delighting customers is the provision of a digital experience worth remembering.  For many consumers, the notion of customer experience is wrought with frustrations and delays resulting in something one can barely call an experience. The line between physical and digital is blurring with each leap that technology takes.

Building strong customer experience is important as it transcends to higher referral rates and customer satisfaction. When your customer experience is top-of-the-line, it creates a buzz and spreads like wildfire, bringing more customers knocking on your digital doorstep.

When you wow your customers with your brand experience you make them happy. They then associate the brand with that positive emotion. Ultimately, they keep coming back for more. So, the customer satisfaction element is the end goal of marketing itself.

The best customer experiences are built on high-quality custom content specifically written to target a particular potential customer group. Also, industry specific content narrows your offers to the particular type of companies you want to do business with most.

Improve Customer Experience with Great Content

There is a difference between product content and “great” product content. To capture attention, product content must be original, accurate, current, sufficient, and interesting. It also has to be engaging enough to warrant a continuous read. This is what makes it great.

Remember, your products are online and your web visitors cannot employ their sense of touch to make their purchase decision. You need to appeal to the imagination of your readers in a way that they can picture it in their mind’s eye. Of course, great products contents help do this in an effective manner.

Great product content has a positive relationship with revenue. Why not imagine this scenario?

You had a stressful day and you are lying on your bed and surfing the web. You do not intend staying for long, just to check in and check out. Just as you are about logging off, you scroll past information about a product. For the life of you, you cannot seem to understand why you stare transfixed to your screen, it is just so convincing and compelling that it almost seems like a sin if you do not get it. A low battery warning makes you jump out and enter card details to make the purchase.

The result will be your brand earning more.

Strategies for Improving Digital Customer Experiences

I bet since we all know the importance of building strong customer experiences, the next question on our tongues is how then do we improve our digital customer experiences? Hold on to your hats while we explore strategies for your arsenal to create mind-blowing experiences to keep customers addicted to your brand.

Before continuing, please know everyone, at every touch point of the organization, owns the customer experiences. It is not just in the strategies alone but inclusive of the people, the processes and the technology. However, all strategies you decide to undertake, there must be a consumer-centric approach in mind. This means that all must be done with the consumers in mind and not the products. The satisfaction and fulfillment of their needs should be at the core of all business activities.

Now that is out of the way, let us continue with the ways we can improve digital customer experiences!

Produce Great Product Content

It was not a mistake that this was the first on the list. It bears repeating for further emphasis. When we talk about content, we refer to the product information used by a brand to convey messages about their offerings. Just as important as a battery is to a phone, you cannot talk about digital marketing or strategies without talking about content creation. It is even more important with online experiences.

This is because there is no presence of a physical store. The customer has no choice but to depend solely on the presentation of digital content. Armed with power-packed and attention-grabbing content detailing product attributes, your products will definitely outshine their competition on the digital shelf.

Personalize Your Digital Offerings

Technology is improving every day with new innovations popping up, waiting for no one. Businesses that are proactive will need to creatively discover ways of satisfying the increasing demands of their consumers. This is where personalization comes in. Customers want their voices to be heard and want to feel like they do matter.

The shift from mass marketing to personalize and customized offerings that make them feel unique. You have to continuously reinvent your brand to personalize your offerings, culminating in an experience that will leave a positive mental picture of your brand. For example, a letter sent to you from two companies. Company A greets you as Dear Sir/Madam while company B uses your personal name and surname. Company B will hold more weight in your mind because of the feeling within you that “you are known.”

It will be more appealing if the Managing Director signs it personally. Getting mail from a brand with zero personality will not hold a place in your mind. Little things like this count but they are often overlooked.

We are in the information age and more companies are keying into the idea of creating brand loyalists to withstand competition in the market. They can achieve this by leveraging information generated through customer’s consumption patterns, online comments, and likes and shopping sites to be able to anticipate the wants of the consumers with much more accuracy, making their buying process easier, enjoyable and fun. Well, almost as good as reading minds! Of course, the ability to read and make meaning out of data is one that is golden to companies and should not be overlooked.

Have a System to Handle Complaints

The mistake most people make is that they fail to realize that communication is a two-way process and feedback is the evidence of effective communication. Customer complaints should be seen not as a criticism but as an unsolicited feedback for you to fix the leak in your roof as a brand. So, use customer feedback as an opportunity to discover areas of improvement. More so, it gives you a rare opportunity to turn that customer into a brand ambassador for free!

Have a system of ensuring that complaints are treated with urgency and everyone gets a rapid response. Sometimes an immediate solution may not be available but it wouldn’t hurt to communicate to them that you’ve heard their complaints and a solution is on the way.

It is also important to minimize customer’s reason for complaint. For instance, it is not enough to keep receiving complaints about the long duration of time your page takes to load without doing anything about it to make the page loading faster.

Practice the art of following up even after resolving a complaint. This is an effective way to ensure customers like the solutions you offer, sending the signal they value your content.

Consistency Is Key

Have you ever been in a situation where you were extremely happy with a service? Then you went back for more only to be utterly disappointed. The greatest killer of superb marketing efforts is inconsistency. Do you want to be different? Make your service offering consistent and that consistency will earn you loyal customers.

Think about a consumer’s impression of a brand as a finished work of art, like a painting. A painting does not just come to be. Instead, the culmination of imagination and brush strokes make the final picture.

If there is no consistency, your customers will end up with a disjointed and confusing brand impression. Over time, these inconsistencies will negatively affect the growth of your business. For a company to make a heavy investment in delivering consistent messages and experiences, it must invest in dedicated software systems. These will reduce inconsistencies by automating customer purchase processes.

Support systems should be in place to minimize the issue of customers repeating themselves and their details. The company’s customer relationship management software should tie all customer interactions together across digital channels. Link emails, social media, and live chats to avoid a fragmented digital customer experience.

Just imagine you got a complaint, sent an email, and each online agent you talked to asked you for an explanation of the complaint. Wouldn’t this be an annoying waste of time?

When talking about consistency, visual does matter on so many levels. Check out a consistent brand like Apple, who has maintained a regular experience across their differing products. Their reward is loyal customers who have found it quite easy migrating between their devices and that makes them come back for more.

Be Accessible

As a brand, ensure that your website is easily accessible and loads fast. Trust me, no customer is going to wait around for a site to open, they’ll go right to another that offers a faster solution.  Retailers have incurred a loss of online sales when they don’t optimize their websites. Hence, in line with delivering superior digital customer experiences, you have to optimize your website so it guarantees maximum performance regardless of the customer’s network connection, location, or device.

On the issue of navigation, there is need to ensure your site is user-friendly. An average customer should not have difficulty in assessing and navigating your website to keep them interested in your brand.

Areas of Careful Consideration

Looking for areas that can be harnessed to improve digital customer experiences? The first step is to produce quality product content. Yes, it is repeated again which goes to show how extremely important great product content is. Utilize the benefits behavior-based web personalization platforms do offer and respond to user behavior in real time. It helps a brand have an in-depth knowledge of their customers through their behavior patterns and responding to that behavior proactively.

Upgrade your website by building on the past experiences of customers to make their experience on your site easier and convenient. Think about the joy you felt when you visited a website for the second or third time and product content and information you sought were available, saving you time. I bet it definitely made you feel appreciated and saved you some time too!

Ensure you do have a working online chat or helpdesk that is available twenty-four hours. It does improve customer experiences when your site is known for fast response to inquiries or complaints.

An Excellent Digital Customer Experience

You and I make up the digital customer. Consumers will keep on raising the bar for quality customer service and timely product delivery, switching at the slightest inclination to a competing brand with companies suffering a significant revenue loss as a result of this brand switching. You know why this brand switching is so easy? It is because consumers are exposed to billions of messages every day.  Hence, today’s customers are more loyal to experiences than to companies or brands; hence, interacting digitally with your customers is crucial to your growth as a brand.

I cannot stress this enough. Digital product content remains a huge and important aspect to effectively delivering memorable online customer experiences. There is need for the creation of strong contents that delivers a delightful experience for the consumer.

If you haven’t subscribed to this practice, you can still turn things around by realizing what needs to be done and backing it up with actions. Remember, your customers can leave at the click of a mouse if their experience with you is not top of the line and this begins with the production of great product contents that are attention-grabbing in seconds of scanning them.

Marketing is a war and only those with the strongest weapon in their arsenal can win the war. Exceptional customer experience to delight customers has now become the focal point of marketing activities like branding, design, delivery and the overall differentiation of products and services of organizations. This goes to show that making the digital experience of the customer worthwhile and striving to surpass their expectations is the perfect weapon to fight the war of sustaining and retaining customers.

Now that you know how to build a winning customer experience, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.