In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Josh Silverman, new CEO of Etsy discussed giving the company a much-needed shakeup.
As part of a lean marketing strategy, Silverman scrapped all marketing activities which aren’t likely to result in immediate results for Etsy’s vendors – including TV advertising – to focus on driving performance instead. These changes have begun to produce immediate results with a share price increase of 50%, and in the third quarter of 2017, they experienced a 13% increase in earnings.
While this culling technique might be too extreme for some businesses, marketers can gain some valuable lessons from Etsy’s decision to ‘focus on the fundamentals.’ A lot of brands still plough the lion’s share of their creative resources and budget on top-funnel awareness campaigns, while neglecting the hugely important latter stages of the purchase funnel- continuing to drive their customers from expensive advertising campaigns to online stores with poor quality content. This results in the customers being put-off at the critical pre-purchase stage and ultimately result in a loss of revenue for the business.
It’s a fact that these content fundamentals can materially impact e-commerce performance by enhancing the user experience, improving SEO and increasing conversion rates. Therefore, we take a look at three critical lessons online retailers can leverage to maximize performance using the high-performing content.
- CREATE CONTENT FIT FOR PURPOSE
It’s not uncommon for a customer to be driven to a brand’s website by engaging ‘hero’ campaign promoting a flagship product, only to be faced with poor product description which fails to provide detailed, persuasive information on the product to convert the prospect into a buyer.
In failing to provide information relevant to the prospect, retailers are missing a trick as research has shown that informative product descriptions can increase conversion by as much as 78%. Similarly, 75% of customers have said they are likely to purchase if they watched a video explaining what they are buying; while 31% are likely to purchase if the business offers helpful online buying guides.
- DON’T NEGLECT SEO
It is a widely accepted fact that old keyword-centric practices don’t sail in modern SEO strategy. Rather, high-quality, authoritative content has become Google’s key ranking factor and given that the first page of a Google search result accounts for 95% of all search traffic, SEO is something a company cannot afford to ignore.
One of the most effective ways of driving large volumes of organic traffic using search engine queries is via category pages.
However, we have found that just 15% of online retailers have fully optimized their category pages with informative content for SEO meaning a significant number of retailers are losing out on a highly efficient source of new customers.
- IMPROVE ON-SITE SEARCH FUNCTIONALITY
Being able to find the right product on a site is a basic but crucial need of every customer. Research shows that 1 in 8 customers will abandon a site after a poor search experience- resulting in lost conversion for the business as well as potential damage to their reputation.
One way to get this right is by having quality on-site search functionality (fast results, structure and semantic reasoning to understand language variations, such as synonyms).
It’s also critical to ensure that searchable content contains relevant keywords and phrases to maintain accuracy and relevancy in onsite search results- so the customers get all the right products upon search. This means retailers have to invest in maintaining the same level of quality and integrity in their search results and content as they do in-store.
It is also critical that retailers with large product ranges or complex product features supplement their onsite search with buying and how-to guides to assist customers with the information they require to make a purchase decision.
While these fundamentals may not be particularly attention-grabbing, they work. Getting these fundamentals right improves ROI on all marketing activities.
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