How Big Brands Are Using Content To Engage Online Customers
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Content is in. Big time. Consider it the new holy grail of marketing. Leading brands are discovering new ways to leverage content, catapulting themselves ahead of the competition.
Although the goals of content marketing can vary from brand to brand, engagement remains paramount to any solid content strategy. Big brands know this and are using content of all kinds to educate, entertain and help their customers: Magazines, TV shows, live streaming, travel journals, product knowledge, user generated content, and even new, dedicated social media networks are just a few of those ways.
To help you get inspired and start building your own loyal following, we’ve put together a list of big online retailers doing remarkable things with content.
Red Bull TV
Red Bull has been in the content marketing game a long time, and are often praised for their prowess in the field. Since they started in the late 80’s, Red Bull has been sponsoring and supporting extreme sports athletes, concerts, music festivals, sporting events, and more. From the beginning they’ve taken a unique marketing approach that’s centered around pulling their audience in rather than pushing their product onto their customers.
Saying it’s really paid off would be an understatement. Red Bull boasts 3 times more revenue than it’s nearest competitor, Monster Energy Drink.
One notable content marketing technique they employ is Red Bull TV. A dedicated channel accessible online from any mobile device, Apple TV, Chromecast, or by downloading their mobile-app. Red Bull TV features high-quality extreme sports videos, live streamed events, exclusive concerts, and like Netflix, their own original series.
Red Bull is engaging with its target market on their terms, where 18-35 year old adventure-seeking males would naturally be consuming content. Take Stratos for example, it became the most watched live stream event in history. Inadvertently or not, this death defying content marketing tactic boosted sales 7% over the 6 months following it’s happening.
Huckberry founded their company with the notion of helping and inspiring their audience; regular guys who are neither overly affluent or adventurous but enjoy taking hiking trips on the weekends, and riding their fixie to work. They found there wasn’t a lot of content geared towards their customers so they took advantage and have been doing amazing things ever since.
They started with a subscription based online magazine and newsletter, called The Journal, that included articles showcasing products paired with stories that would interest their target market. And it worked beautifully. Now they’ve transitioned to an online department store featuring brands and products that appeal to their niche target audience from camping gear and tents, to watches, and footwear.
They built their brand and eCommerce business model on trust. They have a unique mission that rings true with their audience, as explains Huckberry co-founder, Andy Forch:
“Our mission is to inspire more active, adventurous and stylish lives through exclusive sales, original story-telling, and authentic experiences. When we're considering a brand to feature or a story to run, we try to ask ourselves, ‘Is this central to our mission?’ I'll be the first to acknowledge how hokey that sounds, but honestly, we do it.”
They still operate their bi-weekly newsletter called, The Journal, the same as when they started: highlighting products, brands, and stories that match their audience's interests. Their content strategy has worked so well that they regularly turn down VC funding, bring in a 7 figure revenue, and experience open rates 5-10 times higher than their competition.
Net-A-Porter, one of the world’s premier online women’s fashion retailers, took their already leading content strategy to new heights. As if their 6 million unique monthly visitors, and high-fashion print magazine that’s giving Vogue a run for its money isn’t enough, last year Net-A-Porter launched their own mobile-app based social network, The Net Set.
They’re tackling social eCommerce head-on. Their app allows users to upload images, Like, comment, and share pictures with other users - similar to other social media networks - but they added a unique Net-A-Porter spin to it that resonates with their target audience.
The app incorporates image-recognition software that will match uploaded images to the closest product that’s in Net-A-Porter’s inventory, and then offer it up for purchase. But it isn’t just clothes that works with the software, it can be a pattern, a colour, or something similar that could inspire an article of clothing or style for the user.
B2C brands aren’t the only ones getting creative with content marketing to better engage their audiences. As an evolution of their Get Optimistic e-newsletter, targeted at CIOs and technology business leaders, Xerox teamed up with Forbes to create a content platform called, Chief Optimist. This print and digital magazine has evolved into a powerful marketing tool for them.
Available via their mobile-app or by way of a print version mailed right to your office, Xerox has generated over 1000 sales appointments and $1 billion in pipeline revenue as a result of their efforts.
Brands are taking more risks with their content and it’s really paying off. They’re differentiating and even building their businesses with the content they’re producing. Through well thought out content they’re creating a figurative conversation to happen between retailer and customer.
Notice how none of the above brands were pushing their products onto their customers? That’s because they know the power of nurturing. By doing this, brands create a strong, lasting relationship with their customers, helping increase revenue in the process.
Your turn. What kinds of content have you created to better engage your customers? Is there a tactic that’s worked well for you? Share in the comments.
Image courtesy of Huckberry