How Much Value is in your Current eCommerce Proposition?
How long has it been since you took a long hard look at your web store content? Are the words you have chosen drawing high traffic volume to your site? Are you increasing your conversions and growing your revenue effectively? It might be time to test your value proposition –you know the part about the problem your product solves, its benefits and why it’s better than the competitors? That part. Not the tagline (There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard) or the slogan. (Got Milk?) Although those should be pretty attention grabbing too.
Can You Hear Me Now? Good.
Big brands that have been around for ages have the luxury of brand loyalty and brand identity. We just need to see the logo for Nike and we know to, “Just Do It!”. But if you are a smaller company or a start-up, well actually any company that wants to sell their stuff to more people –scrutinize your value proposition. It’s where most companies fall short. It’s the sentences (20 words or less) that sum up what you’re offering. It’s your promise that you are about to deliver real value to the customer. It is the number one reason why a buyer should place their trust in you and put their hard earned cash into your hand. The statement normally has three parts. In the fancy word department, they are: relevancy, quantified value and unique differentiation. For us a little lower on the “spin” cycle we say –this is how I’ll solve your problem or improve your life, these are all the great benefits you’ll get and this is why we’re better than all the other guys selling similar stuff.
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
Where do you place this miracle sentence summary? Right at the very beginning. It must be the first thing people see when they arrive at your web store and then make its presence felt through all of the other entry points into your site. These are not just cool words to fill up the WordPress white blocks - they actually end up improving your customer lifetime value. This is the part where you remember that actual human beings are on the other side of the eCommerce online wall who would like to read something they can actually understand. You know what I mean –those sentences that exhaust you after three words. Or they are really long and packed with buzzwords and big words that say nothing. You scroll away and click on out of there. Companies pay copywriters large sums of money to “jargonize” their content which translates to ensuring your customers don’t understand a word of what you are saying. It’s what Daniel Burstein calls “Blandvertising” –the art of saying absolutely nothing. Don’t be that company, there are enough of them already.
What Did You Just Say?
The terminology you use to expound on the intricacies of your services are usually not how the customers using them speak. So before you throw technical terms that show your brilliant knowledge of your company into your value proposition description –test them out. Language can make outsiders of people very quickly. You don’t want your customers sitting on the other side of a verbose, jargon-fueled language barrier. Talk to your customers find out what works for them –try out a few options. I have this funny feeling that clear, concise and colloquial is going to come out on top.
If you have to use many words you’re doing it wrong. It must be clearly understood in 5 seconds. See what I mean.
You can also throw in a colorful lure, a small value add, to hook a customer. Maybe you add in elements of your overall offering like – “customizable”, “no set up fee” or “free shipping”. A little gift snuggled into your value proposition that adds even more value to the customer.
The Whole Shebang
You don’t want to be everything to everyone. You’ll be exhausted and so will we by the time we read through your offering thesis. What’s your specialty? What do you do really well? It can’t be “everything.” I won’t believe you. Get a target market. What’s your “IT” factor that makes you stand out in the crowd. Narrow it down. What’s your niche? Once you know what’s special about what you do, who you serve and what benefits you offer them, all of your other marketing efforts will fall in line.
Heart to Heart
The only way to find your ‘X’ appeal will be to ask yourself these 7 hard questions. Don’t write down the first thing that pops into your head to get the questions over and done with –really think about the answers. It’s the core of your business.
1. What is the ultimate goal of your web store?
2. What services/products do you offer?
3. Why did you start this Business?
4. What needs do you meet in the community?
5. What trends are currently impacting your industry?
6. Who is your ideal customer? Tell me about them?
7. Why should your perfect customer buy from you and not your competitor? i.e. what makes you UNIQUE? (and don’t say, “Because we’re the best”)
Okay, read what you wrote down, does it sound amazing? Alright, now do it again. For Question 7 you are not looking to see what your competition is doing right and becoming a copycat. You want to identify what they are doing wrong and fill the gap with your excellent solution. These questions should highlight at least 5 areas where you deliver value to your customers and from this source you can start to build your proposition promise. If you have any proof or evidence of the claim’s you are making about what you offer be sure to add it in.
And remember –no fluff, keep it real, matter-of-fact and human friendly. Good luck!
Did I Do It Right?
If you are not sure if your value proposition is putting your best foot forward perhaps it is time for a health analysis of your eCommerce site. It can instantly alert you to what is working on your web store and what is driving customers straight into the arms of Amazon. Give SKUmagic a call so we can do a full check up of your eCommerce site and alert you to any potential red flags.
Anand Ayyar is a principal partner & co-founder at SKUmagic, a content analytics and monitoring platform with built-in PIM/SEO. SKUmagic aims to address the growing eCommerce needs of SMB's and F1000 clients with a very fast, simple, affordable turnkey full service true cloud solution and offers a free "Content Health Report" for any webstore.
Let’s take a look at our royals sharing the marketing thrones of “content” and “analytics” with equal pomp and ceremony. They’re joint rulers.
All Hail the King
Kings are like stars — they rise and set, they have
The worship of the world, but no repose. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hellas
Back in 1996 on January 1st –Bill Gates put forth his prophetic thoughts of “content’s” rise to the highest possible position on the web -King. He said, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet…”
He was right. Back in the 90’s before Facebook and the mobile revolution, he knew that story sells. Content drives clicks. Those that are able to leverage the medium of the internet to disseminate powerful, engaging information make the money and see a continuous ROI. The best part –anyone can participate. You can spread your message around the world at zero cost to the publisher.
Never Ending Story
Why waste a sentence saying nothing? Seth Godin
Compelling content is the magnet that pulls in the customers, increasing traffic to your site. Blogs, user-generated content, social media are attention grabbing interactive platforms drawing massive product sales and vast opportunities for advertising. Good quality content, drenched in clever SEO, is what gets you ranked first on Google search results page. Search engine algorithms are looking at what content you are putting out there and analyzing it to see if it is of high enough standard for users. It asks the probing questions:
• Is the format easy to skim and read?
• Is it well written with great copy?
• Is it enriched with videos, graphics and informative links?
• Does it have actionable takeaways?
• Are the meta descriptions accurate?
• Are the headlines engaging, accurate and descriptive?
• Is it relevant to the search engine queries?
Content is doing a lot of heavy lifting for you. Its taking all of the responsibility to get you through the palace search engine gates. When you get to this top spot you’re looking at a 34.36% click through rate. The constant evolution of technology has meant that marketers have had to put their tactics and strategies on steroids to remain competitive. Hardline traditional advertising doesn’t work anymore – customers want compelling, interactive, quality content or they are moving on in 3 seconds. And they are only going to see your masterpieces if you can rank. (There are 6 Billion google searches made every day.)
The Royal Treatment
Your content wears the crown when it is visually lush and makes a bold statement. The average user will be confronted with 174 newspapers worth of data every single day. You have to stand out because your competitor is a finger swipe away. What you are saying and how you are saying it is the make-or-break component of of your marketing strategy. When you live by the maxim of “Content is King” you have defined a direction you are going to take. It is now the cornerstone of your strategy. If this is your belief system, then you have to take the right actions to deliver on it. Every day 2.5 Exabyte’s of data are produced by 3.4 billion online users. They are uploading 400 million new videos on to YouTube every day, sending over 205 billion emails and posting 500 million tweets daily. When you’re operating in this mega data generating landscape how are you going to tell people your content is the “king”?
Every piece of your content should be excellent, enough that customers are compelled to share it. Joe Pulizzi
The Queen Protects the King
On the chess board the Queen is the strongest player. She can move in any direction. She has mobility. The Queen must be in the game for there to even be a game. On the internet, analytics is our “Queen”. We need her eye to tell us where to place the content we have generated. She is the ultimate power behind the throne. Big data analytics help us to find our target prospects in the unfathomable vastness of the internet. It tells us exactly what we need to say when our message is in front of a potential client.
I never guess, it is a shocking habit—destructive to the logical faculty. Sherlock Holmes
We are able to receive intent signals from individuals searching the web and place personalized content in front of them in real time. We are able to gain actionable insights from all of the data we are amassing so that our content can have maximum impact. By being able to see exactly what people “do” online we can create effective campaigns that speak to their interests, searches and intentions. Every second online, prospects are leaving a cookie trail that can be analyzed so we can move in the appropriate direction to convert them into quality leads.
Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway. Geoffrey Moore
Testing Your Subjects
While predictive and fact-based analytics are telling you about prospects who are ready to receive your content, you need to also use data to check the efficacy of your omni-channel presence and every element of the content you have created. A/B testing data is vital for you to know which actions, tactics and strategies are working the most effectively. You can test absolutely everything to gauge how your clients or prospects perceive your offering. You could change words or fields on your landing page and test to see which piece of content draws more traffic. You can try our various content mediums to test which will convert more leads. Every element of your campaigns must be tested.
Don’t just think you can put up a website, mobile or eCommerce site and never look at it again. It needs constant tending and testing so you know the platform is optimized to its fullest potential. Your eCommerce site needs special attention because you are making your sales through this channel. Every product page must be rich with useful, engaging information, data and images. This is where doing a health analysis of your eCommerce site becomes essential for boosting sales. The check-up is going to highlight where there are problem areas that need some intervention, everything from your title, headlines, descriptions, images, attributes & compliance, SEO, Keywords, Inventory, product URL, product reviews, pricing etc. Using the built-in PIM platform these issues can be fixed and republished back to the site for better customer experience.
The data you collect is an invaluable guide to where to place your focus in the future. Let us, SKUmagic measure and test everything (every page) and let the analytics show you where the gaps are in your shared kingdom. You don’t want the neighboring Amazon King to entice your customers away with their content management expertise.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess. Ronald Coase
How Is the Relationship Going Between Your King and Queen?
There have been many articles recently that state that the “Content is King” mantra is outdated. I disagree? What do you think? Is this still a strategy that defines your marketing vision? I believe the focus on creating irresistible, clickable, content is the cornerstone of everything I do. However, gorgeous content means nothing if no-one ever gets to see it. The analytics Queen brings it out into the light and right into the hands of the ideal target. How is your company using big data and analytics software to extend the reach of your marketing content? What channels are most successful for you at the moment? How are you testing your offerings effects? Are you involved in vital content management diagnosis? When last did you give your eCommerce site a health analysis? I’d love to hear your thoughts?
Amazon is the runaway leader in e-Commerce. Most people discover the products they are looking for quickly because the product pages in Amazon are full of great information. Additionally, Amazon guides and recommends visitors to make a buying decision. This is a teaching moment for some SMB retailers, brands, wholesalers and distributors who want to mimic key content success strategies and KPI of large retailers and brands.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of affordable tools and technology to help with your teaching moment. However, it is not just about tools, it’s the commitment of the owner to dedicate the focus these tools deserve. For most companies, an affordable turnkey cloud solution, or very easy to use SaaS platform that takes a few days to implement, lends the way to removing the barrier to get started.
While there is a plethora of reasons why people buy on Amazon, some of the top ones are discoverability, user experience & trust. To compete in your category or segment, we must start somewhere and establish your unique value proposition for your web store.
The purpose of this article is to talk about both Content and Analytics as it relates to the visitor adding your product to the sales cart.
You want that sale.
Best in Class Tools Reign Supreme
Larger companies have the best in class tools for continuous content diagnostics. This includes a highly-regimented on-boarding process, QA and huge budget to create unique content to go the extra mile to improve each of the millions of product pages. Amazon might very well be on its way to being the largest product database as well as the gold standard. Ask yourself this simple question. If you had a UPC or SKU, where would you look up the product specs and product page information?
Most buyers these days, will skip Google and go directly to Amazon even if they are only researching.
Companies like Amazon, Google, Walmart, Home Depot understand Content is King and good content is good for commerce. Conversely, bad content is bad for commerce across all channels.
The above companies continuously improve their on boarding requirements with requests for more exacting standards based on data feeds they receive. They make this investment. They have over the years scientifically and statistically recognized key factors in product pages that cause cart abandonment. As you know, every visitor is not a buyer. But the visitor that is a buyer has made his decision based on detailed descriptions, great imagery, reasonable pricing, product reviews, quality of data, stock and shipment and most importantly the specific attributes he is looking for.
Differentiate Your Site With Unique Content That Speaks to Your Value
While there are many commodity items where price decides it all, that is not the case for many branded items and unique categories and products. Would you buy the cheapest toothpaste or tablet? Trust me, in my earlier days I bought a knockout tablet which is now used as a coaster. The higher the price of the item, the more the information specs are required to fulfill the buyers quest. For instance, when buying a camera, if the zoom factor is missing or takes too long to figure out, a buyer may not take action to purchase it. Similarly, if a food item doesn’t include information such as gluten free, which can be a key decision making factor for many buyers, the company may definitely lose that sale. The more the number of attributes, the better.
Options for SME to compete
So, what does the aspiring SME eCommerce store owner do to list on the first page and to compete with the 800-pound gorillas? Simple answer.
First, complete product pages based on industry as well as your own standards.
For SME’s, investing on product page content diagnostics and optimization is the best strategy and ensures a much higher conversion rate for sales. Think of it like this, you drive 20 people to your product page and 2 buy your product, versus driving 10 to your site and 2 buy. In the first case, you have 10% conversion but in the second you have 20% conversion with a much smaller budget for traffic generation. Anyone can figure out the ROI quickly and verifiably. Regardless of the percentages, these numbers can be improved.
There are over 1 million stores on various eCommerce platforms that sell great products. They are told by SEO marketing people to generate traffic by subscribing to both onsite and offsite SEO optimization packages. These packages tend to go way over budget and the results are not as expected.
Get Discovered First….Then Compete
Discoverability and find-ability are key factors to holding the interest of the visitor. With the right keyword someone could discover your company but it is entirely possible that your products classified incorrectly or differently and the ultimate SKU page was not found. Content Analytics can improve both discoverability internally (online) via your site or externally (offline) in Google and other search engines. Make it easy for the visitor with faceted attribute search and easy navigation.
Measure and Monitor in Real-Time 24/7
Content gaps cause sales to evaporate. Since most companies do not measure and monitor content gaps in catalogs, there is no way to know what gaps are critically hurting their online business. Often keywords with very poor traffic volume are used and hence products rank low on Google and Amazon searches. Data errors or wrong classifications can easily prevent the product being found on your own site. For example, a ring that is classified as a bracelet might not show at all. Promoting out of stock items is a huge money drain.
In short, SME’s lack the right tools to manage the product information like the big guys. They don’t have time to QA or run real-time diagnostics as many don’t have a set of rules or validation libraries that work for their industry.
Time for a Check Up!
You don’t want to wait until you realize your product isn’t selling to find and fix what is broken. It is 10x more expensive if the problem is fixed at the finish line compared to what it would cost if done at the starting gate. Likewise, you don’t want the creative/content/3rd party to deliver data when it is no longer required.
If you’re not sure if your eCommerce data is at peak performance perhaps it’s time for a health analysis of your eCommerce site? It can instantly alert you to what is working on your web store and what is driving customers straight into the arms of Amazon. Give SKU Magic a call so we can do a full check up of your eCommerce site and alert you to any potential red flags.