If you have talked to your digital marketing agency recently, read the latest from Google, or perused your favorite marketing blog, you have likely come across arguments in favor of better customer experience. If you have watched a webinar about digital transformation or trends in online commerce, chances are there was mention of the importance of customer experience to remain relevant and build loyalty amongst your customers.
What these fantastic resources and experts may have told you is that you need to create a personalized and compelling experience for each and every buyer or shopper. Sounds great, right?
The Dirty Little Secret
What they likely didn’t reveal is the dirty little secret about Customer Experience.
What these revered sources won’t tell you is that this effort will fail—that it is literally impossible—without the development of more and more (and even more!) high-quality content.
What type of content, you ask?
We would argue that product content should be at the top of your list. According to a study by Shotfarm, a vast majority of shoppers consider product descriptions to be very important (63%) or important (30%) to their decision-making process during the buying journey. Best practices outlined by content26 suggest that a product description length between 350 and 400 is justified to address the main features and benefits of a product. Some products, such as consumer electronics may need as many as 600 words to sufficiently communicate product features and benefits. To complement these product descriptions, you should provide imagery, romance messaging, and user-generated content in the form of reviews.
In addition, Google just recently doubled the length of the meta description tags that their algorithms consider to 320 characters. To get the most from your SEO efforts, you will need more—and better—content.
More and more—and more—content
This need for content—to better serve your customers, promote your brand, and satisfy SEO requirements—may be part of the reason that word counts on HTML pages has increased by more than 25% in recent years.
Not only will you need to provide great information for each of your products, but also your content will begin to proliferate. As you multiply product variations, attributes, and product relationships, you will need to create an ever-increasing amount of content. Add to that the adaptations needed for new markets, channels, and languages and you will observe an exponential explosion of content requirements.
You are probably starting to get the idea. How can you possibly track and manage all of this product content? And, is this really necessary?
Fueling the Engine of Customer Experience
As your organization discusses the resources and tools necessary to provide that great experience your customers are seeking, consider this: there is no point in investing in personalization and experience software if you’re still going to provide every customer the same experience as every other customer.
Just as your vehicle needs fuel to power its engine, your marketing organization needs to develop product content to fuel your customer experience and personalization efforts. Regardless of how many state-of-the-art tools you implement, they—and you!—can’t do the job without the fuel for the engine that is product content. By building this solid foundation of content, you can easily reuse and repurpose the information you create to build a personalized experience for every shopper.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver
Several times in these pages, we have discussed the notion, and the necessity, of having a Content Creation Factory within your product marketing organization. As your customers and prospects engage with you and your product information in more diverse ways and on more devices, your challenge is to keep up with relevant content across different media.
We know that consistently churning out content is hard. Companies have tools, calendars and teams—all devoted to the practice of curating, developing, and distributing content. Many hire contractors and agencies to help them generate an increasing amount of content.
What, indeed, is it all for?
First, we are not suggesting that more content is always the best way to go. Instead, providing high-quality, relevant content that is available to your customers where and when they need should be the ultimate goal. The Content Marketing Institute has emphasized that content that serves the customer first is the most popular and useful. This includes product information on your website, FAQs to answer questions in a customer forum, and trend and style content in email newsletters—content that allows customers and prospects to engage with your brand and better utilize your products. Forrester Research has reinforced this, indicating that content needs to be valuable in the customer’s eyes—reliable content that addresses their unique needs.
What does customer-focused product information look like?
Our belief is that useful customer-focused content is:
Getting Started with your Content Creation Factory
The first step to constructing your content creation Factory is to assess where you are now. Take a look at our previous blog that outlines how to start this assessment process and ascertain where you have gaps, rework, and waste in your current process. Come back soon for more information in these pages regarding how to continue building on this momentum to create the content that your customers are seeking.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager
Tags: Content Creation Factory
Your customers are increasingly requiring a better experience when they buy—either offline or online. This need for a stellar experience is not limited to shoppers and consumers. In fact, your business customers may be the ones that have less time to dilly-dally with search engines and browsing through products. They have a need, they know what their need is, they may have a pretty good idea what the solution is, and they want a frictionless experience to acquire it.
So, in these cases when your primary is to satisfy a need—quickly and conveniently—your main goal should be product experience management. That is, you need to manage the experience that gets your product into the hands of the customer.
In an upcoming blog series, we are going to explore the various aspects of product experience management—what it means to inRiver and how we think it can help you sell more and develop a loyal following of customers.
You have heard us mention the need for a Content Creation Factory many times in these pages. We will address what this is, how to develop one, and what it means for your organization.
In addition, we will explore findability of your products and how this is fundamental to creating an amazing product experience for your customers.
Many customers will simply not buy online if a product does not provide an image. Similarly, providing incredible product imagery without any product context is also rather pointless. We will discuss this concept, as well as offer a webinar on the topic, to help you understand how to provide great imagery and context for your product assortment.
The product experience must be consistent across all of your channels. It protects your brand and ensures that your customer knows what to expect—and receives what they expect—regardless of device, location, or channel. We will provide some insight into how you can take control of the product experience so that your customers will instill their trust in you and your products.
Last, but not least, you should know that product information management is the cornerstone of providing a superior product experience for your customers. In the coming weeks, we will delve into why you need to explore PIM and how it is fundamental to your digital strategy.
Kathryn Zwack, Sr. Content Marketing Manager, inRiver