Gus & Lou Digital Strategy & Content Marketing Case Study

Despite all the perceived mystery surrounding it, there’s really no great secret to digital marketing. In this content marketing case study we show just how effective a carefully considered digital strategy can be, with proven methods and impressive, quantifiable results.

Gus & Lou is a monthly gift box subscription service for dog owners, delivering a combination of dog toys, dog treats and dog care products straight to customers doors each month. They aim to only source locally made, natural, healthy products, and only work with vendors who share their values and care deeply about the health and happiness of dogs.

We had the pleasure of developing a complete holistic design and marketing solution for Gus & Lou – From designing their logo and branding, to designing and building the website, to developing a comprehensive digital strategy which included content marketing. We love it when we get the chance to work from the ground up, as the most successful digital marketing campaigns are those where the strategy has been considered right from the very inception of the brand. These days a powerful logo and a beautiful website are simply not enough. Your business (and all the beautiful design work you have invested in) needs to be seen and heard in an already incredibly crowded marketplace. This is where having a carefully considered digital strategy makes all the difference

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Loyal customers also become brand ambassadors by sharing your content and in turn help grow your audience further. Content Marketing plays a key role in almost all our digital strategy campaigns.

The team behind Gus & Lou came to us already knowing the importance of implementing a digital marketing strategy, and were aware even after we had created an impressive branding and a fantastic website, how important a digital strategy is to ensure the continual growth of the business.

Online product subscription services are a business model that is being embraced at a rapid rate by consumers and the venture capital community alike, and it was great to get in at a grass roots level to help a new company grow in this innovative business sector.

What is Digital Strategy and Content Marketing?

We have a wealth of information on our site regarding digital strategy and content marketing, including other case studies, however for those unfamiliar with the terms, here is a brief rundown:

Basically, Digital Strategy is about working out the position of your brand in the online world, deciding who you want to reach, and devising the best way to go about reaching them, whether that is through content marketing, social media marketing, pay per click advertising (PPC), or a combination of these things and more. On top of this it’s about maintaining an online presence to a relevant audience and keeping them engaged, whilst simultaneously expanding your audience and growing your business. Ultimately a digital strategy needs to be uniquely tailored to fit the business.

Content Marketing is an approach that involves creating (or curating) and disseminating rich, relevant content in order to attract and maintain a specifically defined audience, and convert the audience engagement into profitable results. It’s communicating with customers without selling – instead of pitching products and services, you provide information that aims to enrich, e.g. increasing their knowledge or making them laugh. The simple idea behind all this is that if businesses consistently deliver valuable content to customers, they will be rewarded with custom and loyalty. In turn, loyal customers also become brand ambassadors by sharing your content and thus helping to grow your audience further. Content Marketing plays a key role in most of our clients digital strategies.

A Digital Strategy for Gus & Lou

The first stage in forming any digital strategy is to complete a digital audit – examining the market place, competitors, and what strategies are achievable within a given budget. After researching the market, competitors, and potential audience, we began to develop a content strategy which focused around 3 key areas: Content curation, original social content, and original articles.

Original Articles

The backbone of Gus & Lou’s marketing strategy is their original article publication, and the main benefits of publishing these articles are twofold: they increase engagement and loyalty with the existing audience and customer base, by providing them with relevant, engaging content, whilst the weekly publication of such articles (and the sharing of these articles around the internet) dramatically increases the search engine rankings, which means Gus & Lou becomes more visible to potential new customers. Regular content publication and the sharing of the content by other websites are key factors that effect your search engine rankings. Google is looking for evidence that your site is an authority on it’s subject matter, and original content and links to this content are one of the best ways of showing this.

As well as great writing, it’s important that the overall look and feel of the articles are consistent and considered – fonts, headings, subheadings and imagery are all very important elements to consider when structuring articles, which is why it helps to have a full service digital agency with foundations in design creating your content marketing.

Below are just a few examples of original articles created and shared as part of Gus & Lou’s campaign:

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The article above was seen by over 5,300 people, was shared 28 time, and had 142 likes, not including any engagement on shares. It’s not just the content of the article that has to be well considered – but also the title, description, feature image and the accompanying comment and hashtags. Does it make you want to read more? Does it match the tone you are trying to project?  The way content is shared is as much a part of your brands identity as the logo and website.

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The article above reached over 460 people, with 13 likes, 2 comments (and over 15 shares directly from the website) all organically without any pad boosting. Targeted paid channel marketing (such as Facebook boosting) can be used in order to increase the reach of content published on social media channels.

Content Curation

Content curation is a vital, cost effective, but often overlooked aspect of online marketing. The idea is to carefully curate and share content that is relevant to your audience. If the content is already trending or going viral, this is great as you are almost guaranteed to receive engagement (such as likes and shares). Engagement on social media is important for two reasons: Every like or share exposes your channel to new people, potentially growing your audience. Secondly, social media platforms such as Facebook use algorithms which show your channels publications to more people depending on how consistently engaging your channel is.

So, if you share a lot of well curated content which triggers a lot of engagement, the organic reach of any other original content will also be improved. If you are consistent with your tone, and repeatedly share interesting or funny content, your audience will see your channel as a worthwhile source of entertainment which further increases brand loyalty and makes your audience more receptive to marketing propositions. Below are a couple of examples of content curation as part of Gus & Lou’s digital strategy:

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Without any paid channel marketing, the sharing of this video was seen by over 3000 people, received 157 likes, and 29 comments. It’s not hard to see how repeatedly receiving this type of engagement is great for a social media campaign, the audience grows – and as the social audience grows, so does the amount of potential customers.

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With a small amount of paid channel marketing, the post above reached over 27,000 people, gaining 750 likes, 37 comments, and 268 post shares. In terms of Facebook, this amount of exposure, is bound to lead to page likes (increased channel audience), and because all the curated content is relevant (in this case dog related) you know that at least a portion of the audience is going to be receptive to the marketing of dog related products. If used wisely, content curation can actually help you develop a targeted audience.

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The post above organically reached over 5,300 people, gained 126 likes and received 12 comments. Content curation is particularly useful as it is relatively light on resources compared to creating and disseminating original content, and if well thought out, can make a key part of any digital strategy. Despite this, it’s also easy to damage the image of a brand with careless content curation, so our digital strategists ensure that the tone always remains engaging and consistent.

Original Social Content

Original social content is the creation of content specifically for sharing on social media, often in the form of images, gifs (moving images), and videos. The idea of this type of content is that it is arresting, easily digestible, and shareable. Powerful images and quotes are often very successful in this regard, as they only take a moment to process, and if the message strongly aligns with the values of the user, often they will then share the content.

Below are some successful examples of 2 common types of original social media content that were used in the Gus & Lou campaign:

Quotes

Quotes are one of the most common and regularly successful forms of social content and when combined with relevant imagery they are often even more successful. Quotes can be very powerful, and come loaded with meaning and connotations, which if they align with someones values, makes them eminently shareable. Sharing content on social media (particularly quotes) is a common way for people to demonstrate and affirm their beliefs, so being aware of this when creating this type of content is very important.

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The post above received 51 likes, 3 comments and 11 shares with only a small amount of paid boosting.

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The post above obviously struck a chord with the audience and was shared 22 times, with 4 comments (not including comments on shares) and over 70 likes.

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Again, with a small amount of paid boosting this post received over 360 likes, 2 comments, and 14 shares. One approach is to use a call to action in the accompanying text, in this case ‘share if you are one of them’. In some studies, including the word ‘share’ almost doubles the amount of likes a post gets. Despite this, calls to action must be considered and used sparingly, as they can easily come across as disingenuous and ‘spammy’.

Tips

Tips are all about enriching the audience by improving their knowledge with interesting and relevant information, presented in a visually arresting, digestible format. A similar approach can be used with ‘facts’ or ‘interesting stats’. If the audience find the information interesting or useful then they are more likely to engage with it.

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Without any paid boosting, the post above organically reached over 1,100 people, received 28 likes, 5 comments and 18 shares. The image is balanced, aesthetically pleasing, and in keeping with the Gus & Lou brand, whilst also providing a valuable piece of information to dog owners. The combination of aesthetics and valuable information makes content particularly shareable.

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Personal Engagement

More and more for modern brands personal engagement is becoming a key element of any digital strategy, and it’s something many people may be doing anyway, without even thinking of it as strategy – posting fun pictures of works in progress, preparing products for customers, or in this case adorable videos of Gus & Lou (The lovely little dachshunds who are the brand’s namesake) – sharing these snippets of work life is beginning to seem just a natural part of business these days.

With small brands especially, customers love to see the human side of things – having faces and characters to associate with a brand is often extremely important in maintaining a particular connection with your audience. Engaging with to your audience has become a crucial part of running a business and our team has the experience to advise on strategies for undertaking digital engagement. If you share and curate great content, but never respond to the engagement, there’s is a huge missed opportunity for creating connections with your audience and increasing brand loyalty.

This is just a snapshot of Gus & Lou’s digital strategy, and as you can see it’s the holistic, uniquely tailored approach our digital producers bring that make our strategies so successful. With the right knowledge and expertise, a content marketing strategy can be successful for any business, from a Rubbish Removal Company, to property investment strategists, to a Krav Maga gym. Our team live and love everything digital, so if you’re thinking of getting serious about growing your brand online have a chat with us and we’ll tailor a bespoke digital strategy that works with your brand and for your goals.

You can also find this case study on AGDA

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Radi Safi

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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