The key to e-commerce success is good content.
When I was hired to help Cesar Millan in 2005 to sell a few DVDs online the idea that it would take more than a functioning online store to launch an online buisness was not yet common knowledge. In the case of Cesarsway.com, the thought of investing in a multifaceted online universe of content in order to drive millions of users a month towards engagement and sales seemed bold and risky. At the time it seemed like a gamble to invest resources in content that we would just give away for free. As Director of Web Development I argued with stakeholders for the need to ‘give away’ the content. It did not take long to start seeing the value in expanding the business beyond the store front. This approach of being willing to spend time, money, and effort in creating meaningful content to promote engagement is what the famous Marketer Seth Godin calls cultivating a culture of gifts.
In the example of Cesarsway.com, publishing content was more than just a method to increase web traffic. We greatly influence the online conversation around dog behavior making Mr. Millan the moderator and wise elder. Fans responded by increasing spending hours of the platform and avocating for both the content and the product line that supported the conversation.
Within two years the content began to pay for itself as loyal fans continued to trust our products and believed in the mission of the company. This core belief in giving away our most valuable possession was the model and it stayed with me over the years. It has proven time and again that Mr. Godin is right; by giving it away we receive.
There are plenty of businesses today that still need to learn this lesson and see beyond the cost-sale analysis. Competition has never been stronger so the only way to show others the true value of your product is through storytelling. It is this ability to share your story through images, articles, and video that the value of your product stand out. This proves that by working with content creators businessness are able to influence potential customers into seeing the products and services being offered as clear extension of themselves.