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There is no denying that as the online space continues to evolve, targeting the right audience is becoming a complex process. But as time-poor consumers continually look for quick and effective ways to access content and make purchases, brands need to provide savvy and innovative options that meet their needs. Far too often, brands will merely concentrate on the transactional aspect of their relationship with customers and through doing so forget to reward them with value-driven content. It's not enough just to offer customers product-focused websites or transactional mobile apps, they want entertaining and value driven content that offers a lifestyle and experience beyond the general brand/consumer relationship. However, it takes more than a web builder and designer to create an offering that truly encapsulates a brand and its messaging. Organisations need experts; editors and content specialists who understand the brand and its customers and utilise this knowledge to create the right content, for the right channel and the right audience.
A recent online YouGov study commissioned by the APA showed that consumers are far more likely to make a purchase if a website makes the effort to engage and entertain them through interesting, relevant and up-to-date content. Of the 2,000 surveyed, over a fifth (22 per cent) said they are more likely to recommend a website to a friend if it's constantly updated with information. A further two thirds of respondents (65 per cent) stated that they would visit a website once a week or more if content was timelier, with 18 to 24 year olds agreeing that content should be updated at least once a day. Of those asked, an additional 27 per cent said they are more likely to buy online if the website offers more than just product listings and almost a third (28 per cent) insisted that additional online content, such as editorial focusing on specific products, motivates them to make a purchase in-store.
The research reflected that 25 to 34 year olds are predominantly looking to buy online, with 43 per cent more likely to return to a site frequently if it features offers. In contrast, the study showed that 45 to 54 year olds favoured entertainment as a reason to revisit a site, with almost a tenth (7 per cent) seeking videos, games and blogs. Therefore, it is crucial that brands concentrate on providing content that embodies its messages and values, while at the same time offering benefits to the consumer.
The continuing development of the internet, social media platforms and new devices including smartphones, netbooks and the iPad has meant that content is becoming far more accessible, particularly for consumers on the go. As such, the public now expect to engage with content on their terms, through the channel of their choice and at the time they select. Although brands are slowly executing strategies that take these needs into account, there are still many that are merely investing in activity that does little to support their brand ethos and instead just replicates the movements of their competitors. Although a mobile app may work for one organisation, this is not to say it will for another. Therefore businesses must assess their needs on an individual basis, rolling out high quality content that is the right fit for the brand. This approach will not only attract prospective consumers, but will also make existing customers feel valued, building loyalty and a positive brand reputation in the long run.