With the holidays on the horizon, ecommerce brands should be aligning their content to make the most of potential conversions. From seasonal blog content to a festive social media calendar, holiday emails waiting to fly into your customers inboxes, and any ads you have ready to go – ‘tis the season!
But for ecommerce brands looking for a boost in brand awareness, there’s another piece of content marketing that could prove valuable: the personal gift guide.
What is a personal gift guide?
Gift guides are curated collections of stuff out there that would make for a great gift. Think of it like a small condensed catalog of inspirational ideas on what to get someone. It can be targeted in any way that fits your brand, such as “great gifts for food lovers”, “gorgeous gifts for guitar players”, or “what to buy for your better half”.
The gift guide should be curated of items that your target audience will love. You also don’t have to solely showcase your own items, it can be crafted from using other brand products and have your own products peppered throughout (best not to go for direct competitor items, though!).
This latter technique is less salesy, has great link-building opportunities, and can be a longer list than if you were just using your own products. According to Qubit, 85% of consumers plan on shopping online as much or even more than they did last year – brands that boost their visibility are setting themselves up for better sales.
Why are personal gift guides such a great idea?
Picking gifts for people is always a mammoth, time-consuming task, and with more consumers shopping online than ever before, it can take a lot of time and patience to sift through endless products trying to find a great gift.
This is where personal gift guides are such a great idea. Not only do they present some of your best products, but they also address a pain point that your consumers could be facing (too much choice, not enough time), and they can directly increase sales.
Gift guides can be repurposed as content for your social streams, can weave influencers into the fold, and will simply get your brand name bandied about out there. Make no mistake, a gift guide is a great low-cost, big potential investment for your ecommerce company.
Why make it personal?
While it would be easier to throw together a generic gift guide that could be sent out to all your customers, by not making it personal you would be missing a trick. A personal gift guide that targets your market or sections of your market is bound to make more of an impression.
This is a chance to connect with your audience on a really intimate level, and to show them that you have been listening. For example, when crafting personalized gift guides you want to make sure that you’re targeting your demographics such as age, occupation, geography, and even lifestyle choices.
We all know that the personal touch matters when it comes to branding, and those companies that tap into that authentic problem-solving and truly targeted approach have every opportunity to come out on top.
Where to start with a personal gift guide
The first area you want to explore when building a personal gift guide is to make sure that you have all the data you need to make it personal – so you need to know who your customers are.
At the minimum, you should be collecting demographic data like age, occupation, status, location. But really, you should also be looking at psychographic data like interests, beliefs, and values. All this information helps you to build the right kind of targeted gift list.
Building your list in-house
Featuring your own products within the guide (whether completely or as a selection) is one of the driving reasons behind making a gift guide in the first place. But how do you know which products to choose?
Armed with the data of who your target audience is, this should help narrow down the options. Next, you want to look at your own sales data to see which products are the most popular, which are trending, and what people’s buying habits are telling you.
If you don’t have much readily available data or if you want to deepen your knowledge of buyer interests, you can also ask your customers for their opinions and feedback. You can do this through crafting engaging content like Instagram polls and quizzes, or anything that encourages your audience to share their preferences.
Picking external products
As mentioned, you don’t have to just display your own products in the gift guide. While this may seem counterintuitive, it can actually have big benefits. By reaching out to other brands and letting them know you want to feature their item(s), you may also enjoy the benefit of these brands sharing your gift guide with their own followers too.
When choosing brands to feature in the hopes of a share or mention, make sure that you optimize your opportunity by picking brands that share your values, are relevant to your audience, and choose brands that have an active reasonably sized audience.
If you go too big or towards a competitor site, you won’t have much chance of getting that mention, so be sure to look for brands that are a little more niche but also engaging.
Crafting the content
Pick a format
Now you have your list of products that form the foundation of your personal gift guide, you need to figure out how to present it. Whether you choose a slideshow, a blogpost, a series of social media posts, a video, or an infographic is down to what you believe will be the most rewarding experience for your target audience.
You may also want to look at the stats of your previous content and see which style of content hits home and gets the most engagement. Is your brand image heavy? Do your customers love videos? Or does your niche lend itself more to the written form and would work better as a blog post?
Find the best images
If you’re presenting your gift guide in visual format, make sure you get the best images possible. You’ll need images and the product images of your own stuff should be of a super high quality. This is your chance to showcase your stock and to make a great first impression.
Images are an essential part of the engagement process. Eye-catching, easy to scan, able to break up chunks of text, and easily shareable – take the time to source quality high definition images if you can.
Curate compelling headlines
Content still remains king, even when it comes to gift guides. While these guides shouldn’t be text heavy, you do want to pay attention to your headlines. Headlines should be grabbing and your content should be emotion rousing and deliver a strong call to action.
Don’t overlook the importance of SEO. You can weave in keywords and hit all your SEO marks without upsetting the balance of your gift guide when done right. And don’t forget to alt tag images!
Link it up
One of the main aims of creating a gift guide is to help inspire your audience (hopefully to buy one of your products). Part of providing a great user experience is to have all the information they need right there on the page.
As part of your gift guide, make sure you link to any products mentioned, and have the product purchase page open in a new window when clicked on. This helps direct your customers to the right place and reduces frustration and the need for them to search something out.
Where to share your gift guide
Once your personal gift guide is created, make the most of the run-up to the holiday season to get it out there. The earlier the better, as shoppers tend to plan in advance when it comes to choosing their gifts. According to savemycent, the holiday shopping period starts as early as mid-October, with 38% of shoppers citing that being the time they would start to stock gifts.
You can share your gift guide in the following places:
- Across all your social media platforms
- On your ecommerce website
- Sent out to your email list
Personal gift guides are a great way to boost brand awareness, inspire your audience, and convert clicks directly into sales. For all those in ecommerce, the gift guide is instant content that can help catapult your seasonal sales to a whole new level.