Google’s Moment Marketing methodology is a new form of marketing for the mobile age. It assesses how businesses can leverage the mobile opportunity to make sure they’re reaching potential customers with the right information at the right moment. In previous entries in this ongoing series, we’ve discussed what the Moments are and how you can identify which ones are important to you, how to be there in those moments, and how your site needs to be quick in meeting them. In this entry, we look at another key part of the Moment Marketing approach: how to be useful.
Usefulness is a subjective state. What one person finds useful may not be of much use to another person. So what exactly constitutes usefulness? Well, on an eCommerce site, useful is whatever helps the customer make a purchasing decision and act upon it. It could be written content, imagery, video, design, site construction, or just good user experience. Just as in a physical shop, customers want to feel like they’re being looked after on an eCommerce site, and if they find that they’re not, they’re likely to click away and go elsewhere.
As Google has said, “The consequences of not being useful are serious. Without utility, consumers will not only move on in the moment, they actually might not ever come back. Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (e.g., to find information or navigate quickly). In fact, 66% of consumers will take actions that have some negative impact on their brand, including: 40% will be less likely to come back to the mobile site or app. 28% will be less likely to purchase products from the company in the future.”
As we mentioned in our piece about Being Quick, requirements change from one eCommerce site to the next. The best way to be useful on a site selling computers, televisions, or any other piece of electrical equipment may not be the best way for a site selling clothes. The latter would require extensive imagery, maybe even video, to show the product off. The former could require that as well, but the immediate need would likely be written specifications, outlining exactly what the piece of equipment is and what kind of performance it can deliver.
So how can you make your eCommerce site practically minded so it’s ticking Google’s box for Being Useful?
Explain and Inform
It’s the first and most important step for any eCommerce site, indeed any site looking to push anything, regardless of if it’s a product or not. To help people understand who you are, what you do, and what you produce, you must explain your site and help inform people. There are obvious ways to do this: a good About section explaining those things clearly and concisely; an impactful homepage that distills who you are into a piece of communication that can be understood within seconds; and strong title and description tags that can underline quickly your offering in a search engine before a user even clicks through.
But how do you do it on a more micro scale? After all, there’s no guarantee that a user will land on your homepage, or click through to your About page. An eCommerce site has multiple touchpoints that users could land on (primarily product pages for eCommerce sites), and they all need to quickly and concisely hit home what your company is, or at least what needs to be conveyed on that initial page. So make sure you’re doing that. If you’ve got product pages that are primarily visual, make sure those visuals sell the product properly. If you’ve got product pages that are primarily copy-based, ensure that the copy is giving the user all the information they need about a product.
Trim the fat, sharpen your offering, and make sure that what you’re delivering to your customers answers any questions they may have.
Guide and Navigate
Just as it’s important to Being Quick, good user experience is paramount in Being Useful. The same principles apply online as they do in a shop. Nobody wants to spend a long time in a physical store standing in a queue or looking for an item, and nobody wants to take longer than usual moving through an eCommerce site trying to find a product that should be easy to locate. By guiding the customer through the site, simplifying not just the products or the service you’re offering, but also the site itself, you make it easier to understand. Again, think of a physical store. Would the sugar be as easy to find if the aisles weren’t clearly marked?
Analysing your website on a regular basis is the best way to accomplish this. Understand the customers’ journey through the site. Work out which pages are the most popular landing pages, and which ones users are dropping out from. Analyse which pages are generating the most engagement – which have the highest time on site metric, which have the lowest bounce rate – and why. These will help you understand which pages have the greatest meaning to you, and most importantly, to customers. Understand these pages and apply any learnings to other pages that aren’t performing quite so well.
In this case, usefulness and speed are one and the same. By creating a fast site, you’re creating a useful one, and ultimately helping your customers and boosting conversions.
Empower and Inspire
Usefulness isn’t just related to the on-page copy and contextual information. Blog content can also be of use to your customers to help them not just understand what the product is, but how it can be used. For example, if you’re selling a battery powered electronic device, information on how to make your battery last longer, or keep it charged up while you’re on the move, might be useful. If you run a fashion-based eCommerce site, information on the latest trends and breaking new styles might be a good way to inspire customers and mobilise them to buy more products that fit those fashions.
This is where good blog content can come in useful. By setting up a blog on your eCommerce site and regularly publishing good content to it, you’re gaining a number of things: fuel to push out through social, an important source of keywords, and, most importantly, the chance to build a profile as a thought leader within your industry. What’s more, it’s another opportunity to learn about your consumers. By analysing trends within your industry, assessing the keywords you’re currently pulling in traffic for, and seeing which of your products are pulling in most traffic that’s the best place to start, you’re both creating a blog strategy and also understanding your base.
Content marketing is about much more than simply pushing out blogs; it’s a golden opportunity to start delivering useful information to them.
Being useful encompasses many different disciplines and is one of the most important areas of Google’s Moment Marketing methodology. After all, it’s little good pulling in traffic and delivering a quick and efficient experience if the actual information you provide is confusing or unhelpful. When working out how to Be Useful with your eCommerce site, consider your own experiences and the way a physical store is useful. By and large, the same rules are true online as offline. Deliver on them and you’ll be adding utility to your list of strengths.
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