Engaging Users - Consumer Focused Blogs

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Beauty and Fashion Company Blogs

Although the number of recent, publicly available statistics and data related to company/business blogs is quite limited (especially when looking specifically at the U.K.), there is enough information available that can collectively help to illustrate the effectiveness of company blogs when it comes to customer engagement and sales, as well as to make an educated guess whether company blogs in the beauty/cosmetics/fashion industry in the U.K. is growing or declining.

Overall, marketers believe that company blogs are a key priority when it comes to content marketing, as they are known to significantly increase ROI, generate leads, and attract more website visitors. In the U.K., the number of beauty and fashion blogs overall has been decreasing quite significantly over the past 2-3 years, and the number of people who blog on a company blog has also been decreasing since 2016 (although not nearly as drastic of a decline).

These findings could suggest that the number of company blogs in the beauty/fashion industry may be on the decline, or at the very least, growth is stagnant. One possible reason for the decline is that there is a shift in beauty and fashion content being focused more on visual platforms such as Instagram, which is noted as being easier than running a blog while still accomplishing a similar goal.

STATISTICS: EFFECTIVENESS OF COMPANY BLOGS AT INCREASING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND REVENUE

  • According to a 2018 report by HubSpot, "55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority."
  • According to a 2019 report by HubSpot, "Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI."
  • A 2017 report on the Social Marketing Industry found that "43% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most important type of content."
  • A 2017 survey conducted by Hubspot of over 1,531 companies (some that had blogs and some that didn't) found that company blogs attract 55% more website visitors.
  • According to a 2018 report, 47% of customers "viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep."

GROWTH OF COMPANY BLOGS IN THE U.K. (BEAUTY/COSMETICS/FASHION)

  • A 2019 survey of the blogging industry in the U.K. found that 8% of blogs are in the fashion and beauty category, which was a decrease from 22% in 2016. One suggested reason for the decline is that beauty content is moving to visual platforms like Instagram, which are more convenient to run than a blog.
  • A 2019 survey of the blogging industry in the U.K. found that 2% of respondents blogged on behalf of their company in 2018, while this figure was 1% in 2017 and 3% in 2016.
  • According to a 2018 report, the U.K. has a 6.75% share of the blogging industry. There are currently more than 1.5 billion blogs in the world.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To conduct this research, we first began by looking for insights that show the effectiveness of company blogs with regard to customer engagement and sales. Interestingly, while a wealth of data was available on this topic, much of it was out-dated and the vast majority of this data was focused on the general market, rather than being specific to the U.K. As such, we focused on digging up the most recent statistics we could find that helped to answer this part of the request. In doing so, we noted that a number of other recent statistics which discuss this topic were locked behind paywalls, which is likely why most resources were still reporting the older data. This was noted in an effort to find reports, surveys, and studies that provided statistics about blogging and company blogging, of which the majority are paywalled and any insights that are publicly available were those that were republished by third-party sites. In alignment with this, we found that the majority of resources that had this data publicly available were all reporting the same/similar sets of data (most of which that was out-of-date).

In looking at the growth of company blogs in the U.K. specific to the beauty and fashion industry, we again ran into the same problem. While we were able to find some general insights showing the growth of B2B company blogs specifically, these insights were not specific to the U.K. nor specific to the beauty/fashion niche. On the positive side, we were eventually able to locate a recently published survey about the blogging industry in the U.K. This survey provided some useful information which we were able to used to make some assumptions regarding whether the number of company blogs in the beauty, cosmetics and fashion industry in the UK is likely growing or declining.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Beauty and Fashion Company Blogs - Case studies

Two beauty and fashion companies that have used company blogs to increase their sales are L'oreal and Zalando. L'oreal created two beauty blogs called makeup.com and hairstyle.com to attract customers to their new brands. Zalando's strategy increased the company's revenue by 25% in 2016.

1. L'OREAL — UK

COMPANY AND CHALLENGE
  • L'oreal is one of the leaders in the beauty industry, with an annual turnover of more than €22.53 billion.
  • The challenge was to increase the consumption of the brand in the UK market, from difference audiences, including men.
  • L'oreal understands that the largest demographic of blogging platforms are women.
  • They also know that the term "beauty" is Googled more than 4 billion times every year as people want to find better products, learn how to use them, and make better purchase decisions.
  • L'oreal UK wanted to find a way to engage the male UK audience for the Biotherm Homme brand release and attract more women for the release of the Advanced Hair care line and Ombré.
SOLUTION
  • Knowing that women are the largest demographic in blogging and social media, L'oreal decided to create a space to educate and entertain them in a way that felt more authentic.
  • In 2011, L'oreal launched Makeup.com, a blog and web portal that would allow them to offer high quality beauty content every day and a separate website called Hairstyle.com for hair content.
  • The strategy for creating the blog was unique, combining beautiful editorial design and proper categorization with a "girlfriend to girlfriend" approach instead of a "brand to buyer" one.
  • The end look of the site is that of a full-scale online beauty magazine, that allows L'oreal to engage the fans with fresh interactive content and inspirational messaging at any time, combining beauty trends, DIYs, beauty news, giveaways, looks, product picks, expert tips & tutorials, and how-to videos.
  • For the Biotherm Homme campaign, the company followed a marketing communication strategy to generate thoughts, emotions, behavior, and reactions from its audience, particularly male consumers.
  • They used SEO technology to redirect customers to their site through keywords.
  • They focused on influencing the consumers' minds on the way they feel about the products and the company. They identified a target segment and communicated through internet marketing, public relations, advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and direct marketing.
  • The company created blog posts and mass advertising on its website to offer detailed information about the products and reach potential consumers.
  • L'oreal combined its website content with social media advertising to promote different new brands, like Advanced Hair, Ombré, and Biotherm Homme.
  • They also invited beauty bloggers to participate in videos and promote L'oreal's content on their channels.
RESULT
  • Online sales increased by 26%, representing 7% of the company's sales in one year.
  • The website has now a steady visit volume, and the company's social media accounts increased with more than 800 thousand fans on Facebook, 23 thousand on Twitter, and 94 thousand on Pinterest.
  • They managed to establish Search Insights in the website, as a tool to understand beauty trends.
  • 50% of the blog's audience attracted to the Ombré brand through search engines were new to home hair color.

2. ZALANDO

COMPANY
  • Zalando is an online retailer fashion company that was founded in 2008 and sells brands like Benetton, Adidas, and Ralph Lauren.
  • The company serves more than 18.8 million customers in 15 markets of Europe.
  • Their goal is attracting an audience through better prices, fast delivery, and the best shopping experience, and they wanted to do it by finding a better way to engage with them.
SOLUTION
  • They invested in digital technology, marketing, and logistics to become a fashion giant, hiring 1,600 developers to build an online fashion hub designed to help customers connect with the brands, designers, and stylists.
  • While they applied marketing techniques like free shipping and no cost returns on their site, one of the main strategies was to inspire its audience on what to buy.
  • They noticed that 62% of their clients were looking for practical content, information to learn how to use the products, or tips to combine the outfits, not only for things to buy.
  • Zalando decided to position its retail company as a fashion expert by creating a fashion blog where they would share tips, guides, videos, and ideas of what to wear embedded with tips from social media like Instagram and YouTube videos.
  • They also shared their experts' advise by adding the Shop the Look, a Gift-Suggester called "Mariya" for their UK audience, and Free Consultation with Stylist tools.
  • Zalando motivates its audience to engage through subscription newsletters, inviting fashion experts to share their advice, and giving rewards through non-purchase activities, like watching their guides, tutorial videos, commenting on blog posts, playing quizzes, etc.
RESULT

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To determine two case studies of UK beauty, cosmetic, and fashion companies that have increased their sales by creating a blog or publishing editorials by experts, as the main strategy, we began by searching available case studies through marketing companies in the UK.

While we were able to find multiple studies where the companies have incorporated blog publications as part of their marketing, their focus and strategy were mostly on social media and traditional marketing. Their blog posts were only a supportive part of their marketing, and the results were not direct to this action. Also, in most case studies from UK companies, there was no indication that the blog was new, or it was a blog before becoming a company, like Glossier.

Next, we decided to look for studies where the company's use of a blog was not the only strategy, but it was clear that it played an important role in its sales results. While we were unable to find case studies from companies founded in the UK, we found two cases of companies that are located in the UK and have a strong presence in that market; also, their marketing strategy impacted the UK territory directly.

Sources
Sources