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Business (School) at Tiffany’s – 5 Content Marketing Lessons for Your Website

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but it will have a long-lasting impact on earnings for many retailers.

It is estimated that the total amount spent on Valentine’s Day gifts is about $19.7 billion with $4.4 billion on earrings, necklaces and other jewelry.

One of the nation’s most venerable jewelers, Tiffany & Co., will be paying close attention, especially after their shares dropped 16 percent in January.

For many retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, one of the key strategies to increase revenue is through enticing visuals as well as exquisite customer service.

Tiffany’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in NYC has mastered the art of merchandising for an exceptional customer experience. What lessons can be learned for your higher education website to increase traffic and conversions? Here are some thoughts below:

1. Home Page that Addresses All of Your Target Audiences

The “nine-foot bronzed figure of Atlas shouldering a clock” above the stainless steel stores on Fifth Avenue and 57th Streets is an ideal metaphor for busy shoppers – both to this store and to your website.

People are increasingly pressed for time and fifty-five percent of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website. If you can’t capture their attention, you’ve lost them – and likely to a competitor.

On the 8,400-square-foot ground floor with 24 feet high soaring ceilings, Tiffany has a vast array of displays representing different collections and price points.

There are some more affordable pieces – and then there are these baubles:


Think about your “point of entry” (aka your homepage).

  • What do prospects encounter?
  • Are you showcasing all your products (programs)?
  • Are you providing a “sample” of all of your offerings that prompt the viewer to want to delve deeper into the website, or in the case of Tiffany, explore another floor with a broader display of that collection?
  • Does your messaging sparkle?

The purpose of the homepage is to communicate an overview of the different solutions you can provide to a prospect’s problem so that they want to learn (and read) more.

(And, yes, a store like Tiffany is solving customer problems from a love bird searching for that perfect last minute Valentine’s gift for his or her spouse to a parent trying to find a memorable graduation gift.)

2. Repetition for Revenue

Throughout an additional three floors of the Art Deco building, the same piece of jewelry is often featured in multiple displays.

Missed the Tiffany 18k cuff in rose gold?  No problem, you’ll encounter it somewhere else. Saw the cuff but not sure?  Don’t worry, you’ll be reminded (or haunted for those who have been pining away) again and again.

The lesson here?

“Repetition is one of the easiest and most widespread methods of persuasion.” 

Leverage the Illusory Truth Effect in your digital marketing content. Repeat your value proposition over and over again. Make sure you have important call-to-action buttons such as “Apply Now” on each page.

3. Help Prospect See Your Product (Program) In New Ways

On one of the floors, Tiffany has a boutique display of different collections combined together. You can see how an Atlas 18k bangle in rose gold goes with an 1837 interlocking circles pendant and a Return to Tiffany heart tag earrings in sterling silver.

The idea? Help the customer imagine all the possibilities.

The takeaway? Think of ways to display your programs in new and creative ways on your site.

Break the entire program down into smaller pieces so individual classes shine through.

Show how the different courses (like individual pieces of jewelry) come together to create a whole “career” outfit.

Help prospective students envision all the possibilities.

4.Information Architecture that Influences

The decision for Tiffany to present dazzling diamond engagement rings on the second floor and houseware and leather goods on the fourth floor is no accident. One can venture to guess that the interior “information architecture” mirrors customer demand and sales volume.

When determining the Information Architecture for a new or refreshed website, think about the order of information presented.

  • What makes the most sense?
  • What do you want visitors to see first?
  • What aligns with the needs and wants of prospective students?

Think of your website as a journey from the “shopper’s” point of view.

5. Always Surprise and Delight

In a far back corner on the fourth floor, you’ll find the relatively moderately priced sterling silver jewelry display where a Return to Tiffany small heart tag pendant will set you back by just $125.

Lest you think sterling silver is the poor cousin to gold, diamond, and platinum, the corner has a million dollar view of Central Park through marble framed windows.

It’s a reminder that all parts of your store (or website) deserve an attractive setting. What do prospects see as they get further and further into your site? Even pages dedicated to process-oriented admissions criteria need to be appealing and provide a window to the wider world.  Ask:

  • What view are prospects seeing?
  • It is pleasing?
  • Are you providing surprises to keep readers engaged?
  • Does it provide that “wow” factor like an unexpected view of Central Park?

Like the heart tag pendant, you want your most desired prospects to “heart” your website so they will say “be mine” on Valentine’s Day and all year long.

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