When done right, content marketing can work wonders for your ecommerce business. A properly planned and well-executed content strategy can bring tons of qualified traffic to your online store, improve your conversion rates, and increase your revenue while allowing you to grow your brand and foster customer loyalty.
Despite its soaring popularity, however, many ecommerce store owners don’t seem to fully comprehend how content marketing can help them secure their business goals. Don’t be one of them. Here’s everything you need to know about content marketing and some useful tips to help you come up with the best content strategy for ecommerce.
What Is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable and relevant information designed to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and drive them to take profitable action.”
It can also be defined as the process of creating and distributing content to promote a brand, product, or service for the purpose of driving more customers to your website, generating more sales, and building your brand.
Content may come in different formats. It may be in the form of a written article, videos, downloadable ebooks, infographics, guides, online courses, or case studies. It may even take the form of a product review, testimonial, curated content, or even memes. When it comes to making content, the options are virtually limitless!
Content and marketing go hand-in-hand. You can’t possibly pull off a successful marketing campaign without creating good content. There’s no way you can do it. You need quality content for SEO (search engines love businesses that regularly publish quality content), social media marketing (you need to share interesting stories about your brand to create a strong social media presence), PPC, and inbound marketing.
Content Marketing by the Numbers: Some Interesting Facts and Figures
- 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers, while 86% of B2C marketers consider content marketing a key strategy in securing sales. (Content Marketing Institute)
- Despite the proven effectiveness of content marketing, 63% of businesses do not have a documented content strategy. (com)
- 72% of marketers attest that content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads. (Content Marketing Institute)
- 60% of marketers produce at least one piece of content a day. (eMarketer)
- Internet users spend 20% of their time devouring content while 68% read about brands that interest them. Moreover, 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content. (DemandMetric)
- Content marketing costs 62% less but generates at least 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing. (DemandMetric)
- 84% of customers check out brands on social media while 46% look for product reviews before making a purchase. (Salehoo)
- Regardless of product type or category, 87% of shoppers consider product content extremely important when deciding to buy online. (Salsify)
First Things First: You Need to Have a Plan
Content is King! You’ve probably heard it a thousand times but it is worth mentioning it again. Undoubtedly, good quality content will never go out of fashion. It is the now and the future of marketing.
However, content marketing is not an easy task. It requires hard work, commitment, and creativity. Without these things, you’ll simply go in circles without seeing good results.
So, how do you create the best content strategy for your ecommerce business? First, you need to have a plan. Here’s how you do it.
- Establish a goal. Identify what you want to accomplish and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you gauge your performance.
Some of the most common goals set by online store owners include getting more website traffic, generating more leads and making more sales, increased brand awareness, reduced marketing costs, improved SEO results, and increased social media engagement.
- Identify your target audience. Sounds simple, right? It surely does but this is where most business owners fail. Surprisingly, a lot of business owners don’t know who their target audience is.
As a general rule, you need to be crystal clear in defining your audience. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create content that resonates with them or knows how to reach them. At a minimum, you need to know your audience’s demographics (e.g., age, gender, marital status, location, education, occupation, income level, interests, etc.) to pull it off.
- Learn about their online habits. Aside from knowing the demographics of your target audience, you also need to know where they frequently hang out online and how they use the platform. This information will help you tailor-fit your message and identify the most appropriate platform to deliver it.
Note: Content marketing is an effective tool that can help you establish your position in the market, attract and engage potential customers, foster customer loyalty and encourage repeat business, and improve your online store’s search engine rankings over time. However, if you want to boost your sales in the short term (i.e., in a month or two), consider using other strategies that may provide immediate results.
Now Comes the Fun Part: Start Creating Content
After identifying your target audience and figuring out what platforms they use and how they use them, it’s time to get creative. However, please remember that different content types bring different results, so you may need to experiment a little to see what works for your target audience. Remember, what appeals to one may not necessarily appeal to others. That said, here are some effective content types that you may want to consider.
- Blog posts. Most people think of blog posts whenever they hear the word “content.” When done right, blog posts can help you establish your credibility and authority in your niche, improve search engine rankings, drive qualified traffic to your site, generate more leads, improve conversion rates, and build awareness about your business. Yes, blogging can be that effective!
However, to get great results, you need to create longer blog posts (more than 1,000 words) with valuable, relevant, and shareable content. Studies also indicate that blogging often and including at least one photo, video, or audio file further increases engagement and encourages readers to share your content.
- Original photos. When selling online, your customers rely heavily on the visuals posted in your online store since they cannot touch or feel the actual thing. So, take high-quality photos of your products from all angles and let them convince potential customers to make a purchase.
- Video. People of all ages love watching videos, so it makes perfect sense to use them in your business (e.g., explainer videos, product demonstration, brand advertisements, live video broadcast, etc.). According to the Aberdeen Group, marketers who use video get 66% more qualified leads per year and increase brand awareness by 54%.
Moreover, Wyzowl’s 2017 survey indicated that marketers and business owners experienced an 81% increase in sales when using videos. Remember, your customers need to see your products before they make a purchase, so give them what they want.
- Product guides. Product guides are designed to provide more information about particular products to people who are looking for them. These resources are immensely valuable, since they are commonly used by people who are in the middle of the buying process.
- Ebooks. Ebooks are excellent lead magnets. You can use them to showcase your expertise, strengthen your brand, build your email marketing list, and drive product sales. How exactly can you do it? Simple: Publish an ebook that teaches your customers how using your product, service, or solution can help solve their problems or make their life easier and give it away for free, in exchange for their contact information or email address.
- Infographics. Infographics work like magic. People love looking at these fun and informative visuals and enjoy sharing them with their network. In fact, 84% of those who use infographics for marketing and sales purposes say that this type of content is highly effective in driving sales and improving conversion rates.
- Checklists. Checklists (e.g., worksheets, cheat sheets, tip sheets, etc.) are easy to create and are highly shareable.
- Whitepapers, reports, and case studies. These content types can positively affect your bottom line by fostering better engagement with your audience.
- Product reviews and testimonials. Since 82% of consumers say that online reviews convinced them to make a purchase (Podium), featuring customer stories (e.g., reviews and testimonials) on your homepage or a separate landing page on your website, and sharing them on your social media accounts is always a good move. User-generated content is a powerful force that attracts potential customers – without having to spend a single cent!
Don’t Forget Your Content Calendar!
Now that you have a solid idea of the type of content your target audience appreciates, you need a guide to help you keep your eyes on the prize. And that’s precisely what an updated content calendar does.
With the help of a content calendar, you don’t have to worry about creating content on the go (which can be extremely stressful, to say the least). You can plan content around important events, identify content gaps and fill them, and have a clear understanding of the bigger picture. Thus, you can achieve a more organized content strategy while saving time, energy, and sanity.
So, how do you create a marketing calendar? There are several ways to do it. You can take the simplest route by scheduling your content on Google Calendar or by creating an Excel spreadsheet. This works well if you are not publishing a lot of content, but if you are, consider using a productivity and task management tool like Asana, Trello, CoSchedule, Hubspot Editorial Calendar, Basecamp, Kapost, etc.
Share It Far and Wide
Even the best-planned and perfectly executed content won’t mean anything if it doesn’t reach your target audience. So, start sharing content on social media, look for blogs that accept guest posts to get more backlinks, create a YouTube channel, and use email marketing to distribute your content.
Additionally, you can drive more traffic to your content by answering questions related to your business on Q&A sites like Quora.com, commenting on relevant blogs or YouTube videos, or starting a PPC campaign.
Are You Hitting the Target?
Time to measure results. Are you getting the results you want? Review the KPIs you set when you were creating your content strategy plan to gauge your success. Use Google Analytics to analyze the overall performance of your content and Buzzsumo to measure social sharing activity. You can also use tools like Google Alerts, SEMRush, and Mention to monitor the results of your content marketing efforts.
- Focus more on distributing content. Ideally, content creation should only take 20% of your time. The rest should be devoted to distributing your content across multiple channels. After all, having tons of high-quality content doesn’t make any sense if they don’t reach your target audience.
- Diversify your content. Don’t stick to a single format. Experiment with other content formats and see what works best.
- Nothing will stop you from repurposing your content. In fact, you should do it more often! For example, you can repackage a well-performing article you’ve published some time ago into a different format (e.g., video, infographic, checklist, etc.) and distribute it to a different channel. Unleash your creative genius and you’ll get endless ideas on repurposing your existing content. You’ll also reach a new set of audience using this tactic.
- Aim for quality. Content creation shouldn’t be a numbers game, so focus on quality – not quantity. Churning out irrelevant and low-quality content will not do your audience nor your business any good so what’s the point of doing it? Instead, create content that provides value to your customers. Do it right and you’ll surely reap the rewards.
- Don’t get tired of promoting. Get into the habit of re-promoting your posts a week after they were published. This will help you get the most from your content.
- Consider short-form content. While people love sharing long-form content, research indicates that short-form content may be a better choice when it comes to ecommerce marketing. This may be because most online consumers spend more time browsing on their mobile devices, and since shorter content is more mobile-friendly, it can easily capture readers’ attention and eventually get more shares.
- Customize your CTAs. If you are targeting more than one customer persona, customize your call-to-action accordingly.
Running an online store can be a highly rewarding business venture. However, if you think you need some help, especially in planning and executing the best content strategy for ecommerce, contact SevenAtoms today. We can help you achieve the kind of results that you need!