Blog Post

April 20, 2020

How To Create Content That Sells When You're A Small Company

By Antonio Altamirano

Content Strategy: Analyze Your Brand Competitors

Competition is tough in the content marketing arena, especially when you are in the crowded space of natural beauty. How can you win when you're a small company competing with Sephora, Nordstrom's and Ulta Beauty? That's the challenge we faced and below is a summary that tells the story of how a small natural brand succeeded against big brands and large budgets.

Natural. Personal. Connected. These three converging trends define the Future of Beauty, according to Nielsen. At first blush, you might think that an online, DTC company centered around natural, sustainably-sourced cosmetics would be perfectly poised to ride the waves of consumer sentiment and dominate the market. In reality, though, it can be tough for a smaller brand to be heard above all the chaos on the web – and then the problem becomes converting attention into revenue. Solutions that stick are not so easy, even when customer demand for what you do is at an all-time high.

Relevant Traffic: Bringing The Right Type of Customer to Your Online Store

Potential customers were coming to our client’s site, but they were not filling up their carts or checking out. The blog posts, which should have been boosting conversions and educating readers on why and how to use the products, were attracting less than 2% of site traffic. That is a small amount of traffic to the content pages for this or any other online store for that matter. Your content should be driving the most amount of traffic across all your pages. If that is not the case, you have a big opportunity for monetization since your content is underutilized.

Understanding the value of your products is a good start. Understanding what your customers want is a different ball game. When large brands compete, they do it with volume, not necessarily with quality. That is the opening for smaller brands. Large brands have the advantage of budget and volume while smaller brands have the advantage of being closer to the needs of the customers and to the product itself.  That is how a smaller brand can convince potential buyers to take a chance on them instead of buying into the marketing messaging of a larger brand. We've learned that a lot of the claims made by larger brands are often only window dressing and have no real weight in terms of effectiveness. That's where nimble and authentic smaller brands can shine because consumers are moving away from big generic brands and into smaller, more specialized brands.

Digital Connective Tissue Holding Digital Systems Together

One of our central observations about the existing content was that it had to be turned around and face outward, highlighting the benefits of these beauty products to visitors instead of highlighting the brand. 

This is a key concept developed by Tangelo. We turn branding on its head and drive value to the brand by using the products, rather than doing it the standard way. The world has changed and your digital marketing should too.

Our initial strategy was to create a synergy between the website and social profiles. We created a compelling story with in-depth blogs that tied back to messaging in the brand’s Instagram Stories. We also tied featured products to blog topics as part of the marketing plan. The featured products would be highlighted on the homepage with a motivational call to action (CTA). This messaging was reinforced with a blog post on the same topic with a secondary CTA. We sent blog readers to the shopping pages on the site and site visitors to the blogs with links wherever products were listed, including on the main category pages as well as on the product pages themselves. This helped encourage on-the-fence users to convert - providing them with necessary reassurance, explaining the benefits in finer detail, and showing them how to use the product by personalizing it, e.g. suggesting how to select the perfect shade for their skin type.

Email marketing is not dead, in fact, e-mail programs are key to the success of your content marketing campaign. A set of motivational emails featuring blog content to personalize the brand and energize the audience was put in place. Lastly, in transforming content, our goal was to make sure visitors understood how much value this brand would bring into their lives. For example, instead of saying that an all-natural collagen boost face mask was less costly to produce, we highlighted why natural ingredients excelled at smoothing away wrinkles safely. This turned out to be absolutely crucial to the success of the content strategy.

On the site, we used analytical keyword research, including competitive data and keywords, to optimize the blogs as well as the ad copy for products inventoried all across the site.  The titles we used for products were optimized to impel action and answer common questions that seemed to be holding visitors back from making a purchase -- such as uncertainty over which product was right for them and want to see a step-by-step guide on application.

The amplification established trust and kept the brand in the public’s eye.

Keyword Based Marketing + Search Intent: All Aboard the Lip Liner

The standout winner in Tangelo’s campaign was the company’s lipstick-related content. We established a 30-day testing window and measured categories like lipstick, where the revenue was exactly $0 at the start of the test. A month later, our client was able to write down $80,000 in revenues with a lipstick pencil. The conversions followed a massive spike in traffic, thousands of hits, for keywords like “lipstick guide.” 

Understanding which keywords target shoppers were searching for was central to the success of this project. We optimized the site content around keywords that were highly actionable and tied to the biggest hesitation-related questions visitors had. Instead of just “Lipstick” as a category, we optimized around "lipstick guide" so buyers could answer which lipstick they needed based on a host of variables. The same logic applied to cosmetics, such as "blush for your skin color" keyword optimization and blogs on "how to apply X.”

One of the essentials of an intelligent SEO strategy is not to fight battles you can’t win. You build on your strengths, just as the right look for you is one that accentuates your best features. We researched the market to determine which terms had relatively low volume of high quality content and relatively high interest. By doing this, we made feel visitors feel more comfortable and confident in their purchases by hitting home on the exact points that were "holding them back" from trying something new.

We validated our methodology by measuring traffic after the test ended as well, and the client did indeed notice that traffic fell, indicating that the revenues were correlated to the campaign. They could clearly see the business case for maintaining a commitment to fresh and engaging content around visitor-specific keywords.

A natural cosmetics company, with a direct-to-consumer, online business model and a brand message of healthy, natural, eco-friendly sourcing, was in need of sales. Tangelo implemented a content marketing pilot campaign and using social media, we featured content that helped prospective buyers find the right product. Revenue for that product line went from $0 to $80K in 30 days. The program returned 8X the investment they made building this pilot with us.

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 Content Strategy,  Marketing Strategy, Beauty Industry

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