At this evolving intersection of art and science, data is the pulse, and content is the feeding and nurturing that leads to healthy customer-brand relationships. You can now monitor, support, learn, teach, share, advocate, inspire, love, and perpetually optimize living ecosystems. The lifeblood of these ecosystems is content, propelled through non-linear, moments-based customer journeys harnessed at the right moment for the right customer in the right channels to optimize performance and maximize business value.
How can you begin designing content for modern commerce that works across every touchpoint for any customer? Here are three ways to get started.
1. Take a modular and componentized approach to content strategies.
Customer journeys are now non-linear and moments-based, meaning you cannot count on any one channel, campaign, or click-path to drive message continuity. Dynamically generated, behavior-first customer journeys require a more nimble and agile approach to content creation and distribution.
How do you prepare? By starting to think about content in both modular and componentized ways. Modular content, like banners, videos, and images, can be easily repurposed and distributed across channels and linked to a page or longer-form content on your site. Componentized storytelling content elements can be designed to be coupled and decoupled across digital commerce touchpoints.
Building modular and componentized content roadmaps will help you start the transition from channel and campaign-centric thinking to customer-centric engagement and activation, allowing brand storylines to evolve over time based on customer behavior and commerce objectives.
Start simply, with a few customer profiles, key channel strategies, business goals, and types of content that address both functional (transactional) and emotional (relationship) brand attributes. This thinking will enable personalized journeys. And personalized journeys increase acquisition.
2. Create segmented, “test and learn” cross-channel tributaries.
Modern commerce integrates all touchpoints across any channel, leveraging data intelligence to determine the next best action. Driving specific customer segments from owned, earned, and paid channels into commerce landing pages designed to address those specific customers' needs and interests will do a lot of heavy lifting right upfront.
Consider each segment a unique tributary into your site, and curate modular and componentized messaging to guide them through their journeys. Not only does this approach build an immediate relationship with your customer, it will also connect them to the content most relevant to their needs. Most importantly, using curated content to focus on a specific call to action helps move customers through the sales funnel at an expedited pace.
One simple approach is to add segmentation layers to current referring site or campaign strategies, and align landing pages' personalization based on segment. Use the referring sites' user profile intelligence as a guide when developing segmented advertising, posts, and page content strategies. It’s highly likely the journeys will be non-linear and moments-based, so align inbound and outbound accordingly.
When personalizing based on referring sites or campaigns, it’s important to think strategically about where each journey ends. Is conversion or relationship the win? Or both? What are you trying to get your customer to do? Fill out a contact form, try a demo, return to their shopping cart? Make sure to pair the ideal action with clear offers and calls to action. Remember, modern commerce is about doing something for someone, not everything for everyone.
3. Start with a manageable content strategy holistically.
A vast majority of website traffic remains anonymous, and onsite newsletter registration forms churn out generic and self-serving “welcome” series that are quickly abandoned and forgotten. Customers demand more––much more. They want curation to their needs, personalization that feels intimate, storytelling that feeds and nurtures their interests, and a reason to care about your brand. As such, designing a meaningful content strategy roadmap requires sophisticated technology and a team ready to implement and activate channel-centric and customer-centric objectives and outcomes.
Non-linear, moments-based journeys require you to have the right message at the right moment in the right channels, ready to simulate each customer-brand conversation. It’s a complex ecosystem to manage, so creating a content roadmap that acts and reacts holistically is key to your success.
Your roadmap should simultaneously navigate voice and key brand pillars, merchandising, audience and funnel segmentation, community, affiliate, and influencer roles across owned, earned, and paid channels, education, inbound, outbound, referring channels, SEO, and all aspects of your commerce experience––including brand and audience themes, unique content features, user-generated content, recommendations, product display pages, project listing pages, video, landing and impact pages, and the entire checkout process.
So, start with a content whiteboard that anticipates the needs of these touchpoints and build a roadmap that links advanced technology to meaningful storytelling across your ecosystem. Over time, content should help you build a holistic customer profile, with data intelligence to know what they need, performance metrics to know what works, and insights for perpetual optimization that results in highly tuned platforms and maximum value for your business.