#EcomChat for Monday 13th January 2014 was on the topic of “What Makes Good Ecommerce Content?” – thanks to @aattias for the suggestion.
As ever, there were 3 conversation starter questions, and anyone was welcome to chip in live on Twitter using the #EcomChat hashtag.
The 3 questions were:
- How do you know what content customers will like?
- How do you measure the impact of content?
- Who do you think makes brilliant content (and why)?
And here is the summary (thanks to the great @JackSaville1 for the writeup):
Q1) How do you know which content customers will like?
@LordManley: It is not about knowing what your customer wants, it is about understanding their intent from their language and their behaviour. #ecomchat Matching user INTENT with your content is what converts.
@AndrewGirdwood: I think this is a tough one. Even if you know what customers like doesn’t mean you know which content will work well.
- @aattias: @AndrewGirdwood True, good persona definition can improve your odds of hitting nail on head possibly? #ecomchat
- @emmabonar: @aattias @AndrewGirdwood Yes it’s helpful to have a clear picture of your different user types to understand their content needs
@JamesGurd: I quite like keyword research for question based searches e.g “how do I…” – content for info seekers #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @aattias By phone, do you mean using the CS team to ask or actually creating a campaign to call targeted people and interview? #EcomChat
- @aattias: @JamesGurd You need someone capable of asking the right questions to get right insight, not spoon feeding. Maybe a sales person? #ecomchat
- @KevinWaugh: @aattias @JamesGurd then would you use a script for the interviewer? #ecomchat
- @aattias: @KevinWaugh @JamesGurd I would use someone senior in the biz able to ask open questions in a casual chat style. #ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @aattias You need someone like @holasejal she can get anyone to talk, it’s a gift! Not everyone can make people comfortable #EcomChat
- @aattias: @JamesGurd @holasejal Exactly, it’s not so much about their job title but their people & interviewing skills #ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @mcmillanstu Yep good way to see what is popular, what gets shared, what gets comments. Do you do that a lot at Schuh? #EcomChat
- @mcmillanstu: @JamesGurd every week we fill in a matrix of competitor activity, also look at traffic in hitwise #EcomChat
- @dkoblintz: @mcmillanstu @JamesGurd does Hitwise take ages to update on a Monday for you as well..?
- @keena_newell: @mcmillanstu smart, I should incorporate.
- @mcmillanstu: @dkoblintz @JamesGurd I guess… But we’re so busy compiling other reports, its not a huge issue
@aattias: a1: Simple answer is ask ‘em. Too few companies get real insight by speaking to their actual customers #ecomchat
- @emmabonar: @aattias Speaking to them is great, but a simple exit poll can be really helpful too #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @emmabonar Yep polls and surveys really useful + use persistent survey feedback for insight e.g Qualaroo #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @JamesGurd I’ve not come across that, have you used it? #EcomChat
- @AlWightman: @emmabonar @JamesGurd I find Qualaroo very useful especially for contextual type surveying e.g. did you find this page useful? #ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @emmabonar Yep have used qual data from persistent survey – check each month for hot topics and then respond – great for site FAQ #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @JamesGurd Sounds useful, thanks!
- @JamesGurd: @AlWightman @emmabonar Do you use other tools like Kampyle or is Qualaroo the go to survey tool for you? #EcomChat
- @AlWightman: @JamesGurd @emmabonar have used Kampyle, Foresee when the client is paying!! and SurveyMonkey – lots out there though #ecomchat
- @emmabonar : @AlWightman @JamesGurd LOL! I used Foresee when I had a big budget, really useful, couldn’t believe how much info people gave #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @DanielJAustin Depends on if being thought leader is a priority. If providing sticky content more important then asking is fine #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @emmabonar @DanielJAustin of course that depends on how you do it e.g. “We don’t know what you want” sounds needy #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @JamesGurd @DanielJAustin Yes fair point, but you can make it sound collaborative rather than needy #EcomChat
- @DanielJAustin: @JamesGurd @emmabonar though leader was the wrong word. A brand asking me what content I want, to me sounds needy #ecomchat
- @SEONorth: @DanielJAustin @JamesGurd @emmabonar Don’t ask what content they want. Ask what interests, concerns, likes/dislikes etc. #ecomchat
- @panda_doodle: @SEONorth @DanielJAustin @JamesGurd @emmabonar id disagree with that, isn’t that turing your shop into a magazine. #ecomchat
- @DanielJAustin: @SEONorth @JamesGurd @emmabonar you are marketing a brand, you should really know that?? To a certain extent #ecomchat
- @panda_doodle: @SEONorth @DanielJAustin @JamesGurd @emmabonar #ecomchat i don’t think asking is right anyway better off doing a pole and set out questions to problems that will gain answers = problem solving
- @SEONorth: @panda_doodle @DanielJAustin @JamesGurd @emmabonar Magazine, not necessarily. Publisher, probably. #EcomChat
- @DanielJAustin: @SEONorth @panda_doodle @JamesGurd @emmabonar thinking like a publisher is good right? What do our customers want to read about #ecomchat
- @DanielJAustin: @SEONorth @panda_doodle @JamesGurd @emmabonar what pains them with our product, what issues do they have, what do they like. #ecomchat
- @DanielJAustin: @SEONorth @panda_doodle @JamesGurd @emmabonar what other things do they like to read about and consume. What is their life like?#ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @DanielJAustin @SEONorth @emmabonar So how do you know instinctively the content type/format needs of millions of visitors? #EcomChat
- @DanielJAustin: @SEONorth @panda_doodle @JamesGurd @emmabonar if you have ever been involved in an editorial meeting at a magazine you will know #ecomchat
- @panda_doodle: @DanielJAustin @SEONorth @JamesGurd @emmabonar #ecomchat personally i think there is a line between running a store and making it sound like your a human interest blog, prioritys need to be assigned someplace just my 2p
- @DanielJAustin: @JamesGurd @SEONorth @emmabonar the same way you know the content type/format of millions of readers or views #ecomchat
- @emmabonar: @panda_doodle @DanielJAustin @SEONorth @JamesGurd Agreed, esp in B2B where content I need is technical and useful not fun/engaging #ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @panda_doodle @DanielJAustin @SEONorth @emmabonar Yep understand your POV. For me content helps people make decisions… #EcomChat
- @panda_doodle: @JamesGurd #ecomchat but if its about decisions thats product related no? or have i missed the point
- @DanielJAustin: @JamesGurd @panda_doodle @SEONorth @emmabonar sort of like a thought leader right??? #ecomchat
- @DanielJAustin: @JamesGurd @panda_doodle @SEONorth @emmabonar I tell you this product is good & here is why?? I understand your needs and concerns
- @panda_doodle: @DanielJAustin @JamesGurd @SEONorth @emmabonar #ecomchat needs and concerns can be addressed with bullets rather than researched content, both assuming different points of what “content is”
@lakey: @JamesGurd A1: Use Google Trends and make a bet on rising searches. See ‘evergreen content’ tips here: http://bit.ly/L1DRyv #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @lakey Yep i like the idea of learning from evergreen content and looking at ways to expand/re-purpose #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @SEONorth That’s a good point – social/community managers are well placed to understand this (if they’re doing it well!) #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @dkoblintz e.g. does segment X respond better to How to guides or video content? #EcomChat
- @dkoblintz: @JamesGurd This is one of the great advantages of working in-house – immersion in that world anyway #EcomChat
- @dergal: @dkoblintz guessing most of your staff are passionate cyclists….
- @AlWightman: @panda_doodle Agree if I am buying toilet paper I’m pretty certain I and most other people don’t want any additional content #ecomchat
- @ThatWordyBird: @AlWightman @panda_doodle Don’t know – Charmin and Andrex seem to do pretty well. Remember that scrunch or fold campaign?!
- @AlWightman: @ThatWordyBird I’ll give you that @panda_doodle
- @SEONorth: @mcstot Agree. Affinity is v important. If you’re an outsider, you’ll struggle to produce content of worth. #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @SEONorth @mcstot works really well for niche retailers where founder is the product expert e.g. Annoushka jewellery #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @dkoblintz Yes that’s a really sensible approach (and they can help you with the content too) #EcomChat
- @aattias: @Magique83 Exactly, ideally at the right time and the right place. #ecomchat
- @Magique83: @aattias Right time and right place is key too. We have an annual schedule of key events in the industry and write based on that #ecomchat
- @AndrewGirdwood: @Magique83 @aattias I can’t over state the importance of an event schedule enough. It’s gold. #EcomChat
- @KevinWaugh: @Magique83 “Inform and Educate” is key, when a customer can purchase without seeking answers from you or elsewhere is a huge win. #ecomchat
- @GingerWarriorX: @KevinWaugh @Magique83 and *then* the holy grail, SEO traffic increases, as you are answering questions no-one else is… #ecomchat
- @dkoblintz: @Magique83 do Amazon do any of that? #EcomChat
- @Magique83: @dkoblintz Not much but Amazon have never been a good model for others to follow. They don’t make any money for a start! #ecomchat
- @dkoblintz: @Magique83 I agree. But selling is core for (most?) companies – other forms may very well not have +ve ROI. Needs to be considered #EcomChat
- @Magique83: @dkoblintz If you only look for direct £ conversion then you will never be happy. Need to look at long term gains & goals. #ecomchat
- @dkoblintz: @Magique83 I quite agree. However, you really do need to look at the incremental ROI that the content has. #EcomChat
- @Magique83: @dkoblintz I look at visits that include access to that content and then check for both direct & assisted conversion for ROI #ecomchat
- @dkoblintz: @Magique83 How does investment in entertaining content compare to investment in product level content? #EcomChat
- @Magique83: @dkoblintz On a long term basis it compares very favourably. You need the buy in from the boss to stick with it though #ecomchat
- @panda_doodle: @dkoblintz @Magique83 #ecomchat i think all content that is meant to be shared / enjoyed should link back to a product or reference no?
- @SEONorth: @panda_doodle @dkoblintz @Magique83 Red Bull’s videos? No links there. Branding, yes. Effective, very.
- @panda_doodle: @SEONorth @dkoblintz @Magique83 #ecomchat but thats like coke, everyone knows them does not work for smaller stores
- @SEONorth: @panda_doodle @dkoblintz @Magique83 I just mean it works as a branding tactic which is valuable for some. Prob not small stores though.
Q2) How do you measure the impact of content?
- @lakey Beyond the obvious £££, there’s all the brand metrics to consider. Reach, positioning, awareness, etc. And SEO!
- @lakey Also, vanity metrics like page impressions tend to be less revealing than comments on posts and in tweets.
- @aattias: @JamesGurd By the volume of desirable outcomes stemming from that content, e.g. sales for ecom, leads for b2b etc
- @JamesGurd: @aattias I think a focus on desirable outcomes is ideal – need to define those outcomes by understanding how content contributes #EcomChat
- @aattias: @JamesGurd Yeah, gets tricky very quickly doesn’t it esp in multichannel setup for say complex b2b products. #ecomchat
- @AmpersandHQ: @aattias@JamesGurd Have an improvement plan. Track content changes & measure impact. Revisit. Little by little, data won’t lie. #EcomChat
- @SEONorth: @AndrewGirdwood I like SU as a test of performance but have found traffic low quality. #ecomchat Worthwhile if you have right expectations
- @AndrewGirdwood: @SEONorth You can use Facebook as an alternative; not sure the quality is any better. #EcomChat
- @SEONorth: @AndrewGirdwood It has been: people are linked to friends and share interests. SU usage more about flipping on to next thing. #EcomChat
- @GingerWarriorX: @webber_karen I always use AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) – very simple model, each aspect has value dep. on goals #ecomchat
- @aattias: @KevinWaugh Not sure exit rates alone tell a story. Maybe they found exactly the info they needed? Need to add insight from Q1 too #ecomchat
- @GingerWarriorX: @aattias @KevinWaugh indeed. Did they find the answer with you, then buy from a competitor?! Vice Versa? #EcomChat tie in w/source + entry
- @KevinWaugh: @aattias if they did (in the instance of a product), then did they exit because someone else has a better price or promotion? #ecomchat
- @AlWightman: Agree @aattias, lots of blogging content generates high bounce and exit rates. Still done its job potentially for that visit @KevinWaugh
- @aattias: @KevinWaugh exactly, all sorts of possibilities. Need to beware of analysing metrics in isolation. #ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @GingerWarriorX @aattias @KevinWaugh Yep blogs good example – often high bounce/exit due to visit intent #EcomChat
- @keena_newell: @mcmillanstu I dont recall how I first heard of Zappos, but there’s something to be said for their footwear strategy #ecomchat
- @GingerWarriorX: @keena_newell @mcmillanstu of course the irony there is that almost none of their marketing talks about shoes!
- @mcmillanstu: @GingerWarriorX @keena_newell maybe @Magique83 can give his view, perhaps better to talk about cycling more than the cycle #EcomChat for eg.
- @GingerWarriorX: @mcmillanstu @keena_newell @Magique83 agree. A client does trainers – they talk about running, events (Marathons), athletes-not about shoes.
- @Magique83: @mcmillanstu @GingerWarriorX @keena_newell I guess it’s a little more difficult for fashion than a specific sport or something #ecomchat
- @GingerWarriorX: @Magique83 @mcmillanstu @keena_newell perhaps.. but fashion for an event, a lifestyle? music, food, tech all drive that and are driven?
- @JamesGurd: @mcmillanstu Ah the online NPS challenge. Annual surveys of customer base is one way – a client does that with its members #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @JamesGurd @mcmillanstu We do online NPS with all customers, but not sure it has a lot of value #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @emmabonar Interesting, why the doubt on the value? As in it’s not reliable? #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @JamesGurd It’s a bit vague – gives you an overall impression if you’re good or not against competition but no detail #EcomChat
- @JamesGurd: @emmabonar Is it useful as annual benchmark? That’s how my client uses it – not to drive specific tactical activity but as alert #EcomChat
- @emmabonar: @JamesGurd Exactly, something we use for strategic planning annually
- @mcmillanstu: @emmabonar @JamesGurd it’s a few years old, but Lego used NPS effectively: http://blogs.forrester.com/angela_beckers/09-11-19-lessons_lego_forrester%E2%80%99s_marketing_forum_emea_2009 … #EcomChat
Q3) Who do you think makes brilliant content? (and what makes it brilliant?)
- @aattias: @JamesGurd Firebox, Innocent stand out for me on b2c for compelling product copy. Velocity partners are excellent on b2b side #ecomchat
- @JamesGurd: @aattias Yep agree with those – Innocent did a brilliant job with its tone of voice and content style #EcomChat
- @mcmillanstu: @JamesGurd their range of ambassadors is something to behold #EcomChat
- @DanielJAustin: @mcmillanstu @JamesGurd because they have understood the lifestyle and aligned with that. #ecomchat
- @Magique83: @GingerWarriorX @mcmillanstu @keena_newell Ultimately it comes back to knowing your customer and tailoring to their lifestyle & interests
@JamesGurd: a3) #EcomChat J Peterman for product copy – take a peek – wonderful copywriting http://www.jpeterman.com/Womens-Caftans/Istanbul-Caftan …
- @JamesGurd: @AndrewGirdwood In some circumstances yes but not always – an over zealous fan can be over bearing for others. #EcomChat
- @AndrewGirdwood: @JamesGurd Post-filtered fan stuff, though. Not every DeviantArt page does well. The ones the blogs/curators pick go supernova.
- @MJLawson1: @Magique83 Thanks for the shout out! This is only the begining to some amazing content. Want a look? http://ao.com/world/ #ecomchat
And with that, the hour was up. Thanks again to @JackSaville1 for the writeup, and to all of the contributors.
Join us at 1pm UK time on Monday and do share this post either on Twitter or via email with anyone you think would be interested.
Dan & James.
p.s. If you’re wondering “what is this all about?” there is an about page to explain everything.