As digital marketers access new tools that remove the most common barriers to content creation, they're faced with a new problem: too many possibilities. With a wealth of potential, it can be difficult for brands to narrow their options to the perfect content type for their next consumer-facing campaign. A good place to start is to evaluate your campaign and strategic digital goals. In the second part of this two-part series, I break down four campaign goals and recommend the best content type for each. (Here's part one of the series.)
Regardless of your chosen content type, don’t forget that instant shoppability is non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter how engaging and inspirational your content is if there isn’t a quick and easy way for consumers to purchase. When consumers are brought away from a rich, creative experience to a static product page or grid, they're more likely to abandon the purchase altogether. Your expertly crafted consumer experience has inspired them to buy — why take them away from that?
If your goal is to deliver a rich brand story, the best content format is definitely storytelling content. These experiences contribute to a strong brand image and can strengthen your customer-brand relationship. It’s a great way to increase engagement; your shoppers are kept on the page, meaning they're spending more time shopping and exploring your products. However, storytelling content has to go beyond simple blocks of copy. Interactive media such as gifs, video and animated page elements make the experience dynamic and rich. Furthermore, images and headings within the copy keep the page “skimmable” for shoppers on the go.
Interested in educating the customer and creating product awareness? For this goal, I recommend tutorial content. These experiences are always fresh and exciting because there's no one way to deliver them. From how-to videos, quizzes, step-by-step guides and user-generated content, the possibilities are endless. What’s most important is that value is provided to the consumer outside of the products you're selling. In fact, a product doesn’t even have to be included. The primary focus of tutorial content should always be education, not the “sell.” These experiences make your brand a trusted destination for shoppers, encouraging return visits and brand loyalty. I especially recommend tutorial content for products that have practical uses and would benefit from instructional content, such as skincare and cosmetics, home improvement, fitness, and electronics.
When your campaign goal is to present a general set of products in a visually appealing manner, I recommend a shoppable lookbook. Lookbooks and carousels are a high-impact way to showcase general collections like new arrivals, best-sellers or sale items in a manner that’s easy for the shopper to access and navigate. Instead of searching through product grids, consumers can intuitively swipe through the lookbook at their own pace. Your key products are front and center in a shoppable lookbook.
Finally, if your campaign goal is to encourage upsells around a curated theme, a buying guide is the way to go. When you have a specific theme in mind (e.g., holiday, real-time event, new trends, pop culture occurrence), buying guides can bring it to life in creative and exciting ways. Your shoppers will be seamlessly guided down the path to purchase and shown exactly what they need. Buying guides make your customers’ lives easier. For instance, a back-to-school guide provides everything kids will need to return to school, from school uniforms to supplies. A successful buying guide is a one-stop shopping destination that’s entertaining and easy to navigate. In addition, presenting an expertly tailored collection of items is a perfect opportunity to upsell ancillary products.
I’ve reviewed four types of content: storytelling, tutorial, shoppable lookbooks and buying guides. Each one is rich and unique, and when implemented with instant shoppability, will engage and delight customers who expect nothing less. It’s up to marketers to deliver innovative digital experiences that go beyond a simple product grid, ultimately creating content that entertains and inspires.
Brian Rigney is the CEO of Zmags, a company that enables brands to create engaging digital publishing and shoppable content with no coding.
Brian Rigney, CEO of Zmags, has over twenty years’ experience leading high performing, entrepreneurial teams in launching new businesses and bringing innovative new products to market. For more information on Zmags, please visit their website and follow the company on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.