Mind the Gap: Filling your Commercial Content Gaps

content marketing and non-marketing

Today is Blog #5 of the collaboration between BloomReach and Relevance on marketing your regular and commercial content.

mind-the-gap-filling-your-commercial-content-gapsYou’ve put in the time and you’re feeling pretty good about the content that you’ve optimized on your site. Take a deep breath, because we’ve just leaped over the first hurdle in this race.

Next up: filling your commercial content gaps.

Commercial content gaps are the gaps that exist between the demand for your content and the demand that you’re serving. Imagine a group of customers who are reaching out and trying to buy what you have but aren’t able to find it because they are asking for things in a way that you aren’t marketing to. These are lost sales opportunities.

This is every customer of a high-end home goods store who is looking for “luxury lighting” but can’t find it, because the store sells only the more specific “modern chandeliers” and “brushed metal sconces.”

To fill your commercial content gaps, you need to:

  1. Figure out what you don’t know.
  2. Decide if you will fill the gap.
  3. Choose your content.
  4. Keep your content fresh.


1. Figure Out What You Don’t Know

The best way to determine your content gaps is to research outside the confines of your data and think broadly about the top of the sales funnel.

Outside data sources such as social media, customer polls, digital influencers, and industry publications can help you identify trends in language and, subsequently, demand. If you sold shoes, for instance, you could studiously track the demand for “heels” and watch the traffic drop.

Does this mean that there is a decrease in the demand for heeled shoes? Maybe. But if you looked outside your data you would find that women are now looking for “pumps” and “mary janes” instead of “heels.” Suddenly, you’ve identified a content gap where you were not promoting the many “pumps” you have.

Thinking about the top of your sales funnel will also uncover ample opportunities that you could be missing. You are likely optimized for the bottom of the sales funnel – the point at which a potential customer is on the brink of conversion. You have the “mixed metal modern chandelier,” but you don’t have content targeted for higher in the sales funnel for “midcentury modern luxury lighting.” Thinking “up the funnel” gives you opportunities to package your products in ways that appeal to your customers higher in the consideration set.

2. Filling the Gap – Is it Worth It?

Let’s say you’ve identified a thousand new categories of content or themes of products that represent untapped demand. Is it worthwhile to tap into that demand?

To assess demand, ask the following questions:

  • How much demand would this represent? Use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool to assess the traffic.
  • What are the incremental sales I could derive? Evaluate the percentage of traffic you expect to capture, then apply your organic search conversion rate and average order value to determine an estimate of additional incremental sales
  • What is the ROI of filling this demand, given the cost of curating new pages and maintaining them? Determine what resources you have in marketing, merchandising, and IT to create the new pages you need to fill these content gaps.

3. Select Your Content

You have your new categories of products in hand and you’re ready to start curating your content for them. It can be overwhelming to think about how to start selecting your articles, products, or other content among the thousands of different pieces of content you have on your site, but we have a few suggestions.

First, take a look at the different tools you have at your disposal. You may have tagged your content in your content management system (CMS). Your items will not be tagged with the new category names you have, but you can start to determine synonyms between the category names you have and the tags on hand. For instance, if you are trying to create a “patent leather pumps” page, you can determine that any products tagged as “heels” or “women’s dress shoes” could be part of the eligible pool of products you could pull from.

Second, tap social channels. Tools like Pinterest are collective intelligence platforms that can tell you how a wide variety of different people categorize different content. You can go to Pinterest and search for “pumps” and look at the products that are categorized as such. This will help you determine what your selection should be.

Third, let your users decide. Choose a selection that you believe speaks to your new category of products, and then let it loose in the wild and watch what your users do. Watching bounce rate and conversion rates from that page will tell you whether or not you’re doing a good job and inform your selection as you refine it.

4. Freshness is Key

You have your selection—now you just need to make sure the content on these pages stays fresh. You don’t want to show out-of-stock products or out-of-date content.

Set up a regular cadence to review your pages, and put in automatic systems to remove out-of-stock items from any product category pages you create.

Now you are set—with fresh pages—to generate incremental traffic and sales to bring in more revenue for the content you already have.

Photo of sidewalk by Robert S. Donovan under Creative Commons license.