Trending: Consumer Review Sites Leverage Content, Social, Search Marketing
If you're an Internet marketer, you know there are several online channels you can leverage without paying upfront for advertising, such as some banner ads or pay per click.
Three online channels that are super-hot and showing no signs of slowing down include content marketing, social marketing and search marketing (organic).
Each of these online channels have one thing in common: They all maximize content.
My view has always been that with relevant, useful, valuable and actionable original content, you can't go wrong. It will always work with the search engines, despite constant algorithm updates.
This is the core philosophy of my "SONAR Content Distribution Model," but also has become more commercial- and consumer-driven with the use of product review websites.
A recent study shows 47 percent of consumers indicate the Internet is their favorite place to shop, and U.S. e-tails are anticipated to hit around $370 billion by 2017.
With all this Web surfing and shopping, it's no wonder consumers are becoming more savvy.
An emerging trend in digital marketing is consumer review sites. These sites are populated with pages and pages of unique, relevant content that's beneficial to the consumer. It's unbiased. And has the main focus of harnessing the power of its content with the search engines, as well as social marketing outlets.
The website's pages are crafted with targeted keywords based on the products or services being reviewed—many well-known brands—and honest feedback. Then it's good 'ole inbound marketing tactics, such as online press releases, article marketing, content syndication, search marketing and social marketing that drive consumers to the product review website.
The pioneer of this ingenious online marketing tactic was Cnet.com, which was founded in 1994. They have been reviewing electronic and tech products for years.
Other well-known consumer review sites that have popped up recently include Epinions.com and ConsumerSearch.com, which reviews products. CitySearch.com and Yelp.com review hotels, restaurants, entertainment and more. And of course, AngiesList.com, which is a membership site that reviews local service providers.
But recently, there have been some new players in niche and specialty industries that are creating a buzz. One such new kid on the block is BuyerReview.com.
BuyerReview.com focuses on the health and beauty sectors. This includes cosmetics and cosmeceuticals, such as skincare products, vitamins and supplements—a most robust marketplace, to say the least ...
... The U.S. cosmeceutical industry alone represents $6.5 billion with a growth forecast of 5.8 percent annually through 2015. And nutritional supplements generated $32 billion in 2012 and are projected to hit $60 billion by 2021.
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of BuyerReview.com's editors, Peter Stockwell.
I asked him how he would describe the site, what makes it unique and to describe the overall business model.
According to Stockwell, "Buyerreview.com is more targeted than many of the behemoth product review sites on the Web today. Sometimes when you're too big and review too many things, consumers get lost on your website. Our team of editors reviews specific products in the vertical of health and beauty. We give honest reviews, as well as health and beauty advice."
Stockwell continues, "Content is the cornerstone of the website. It helps the consumers. And it works with the search engines. With social marketing, it increases our reach and visibility. It's really a blueprint for online marketing success."
Stockwell adds, "There are several things that make us stand out: One is our BuyerReview Seal of Approval, which means our experts have reviewed a product personally and found it acceptable. Two, our editors (which, in addition to reviews) provide expert advice on health and beauty, which is an added bonus to consumers. Three, our Top 10 lists, which takes the best of the best we review and rolls it up into an easy-to-read product grid. Four, we offer consumers the option of getting product reviews delivered directly to them wherever they are, via email. And lastly, we offer free, weekly giveaways of the products we review. We like to think of our website as a one-stop shop for consumer health and beauty product interest."
Stockwell concludes, "Once you have traffic coming to your site based on superior content, the opportunities are endless. Similar product or service review websites have went the advertising model and sell banner ads on their site for revenue potential. Others charge monthly membership fees. There's many ways to monetize the traffic."
Bottom line: There's a way smart online marketers have turned leveraging quality content into a win-win situation that benefits its target audience, as well as generating revenue.
And the vast space on the Web is wide-open for more to jump on the bandwagon and carve out their own slice.
Marketers in most any industry can take something away from this online strategy and see how the fundamental principle can be incorporated it into their online marketing mix ... because content will always be king, and consumers will always be curious.
Often referred to as the "marketing maven" by industry peers, Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, media, and publishing with expertise in multichannel, direct response, and Web marketing. Wendy has generated more than $150 million in total revenues for Fortune 500 companies, top publishers, consulting clients, and her own firm, Precision Marketing and Media, LLC. She is the creator of the groundbreaking SONAR Content Distribution Model and author of the best-selling book Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz [Que Publishing, Paperback].