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While the ultimate goal of ecommerce marketing is to sell products, you need to establish authority, nurture customers and engage them long enough to get them to buy and keep interacting with your brand.
Content marketing can help you achieve your marketing goals even if you do not have a large budget dedicated to ads.
Content marketing for ecommerce brands becomes increasingly important as more brands open up online stores. You have to find ways to stand out from the competition without compromising your brand identity.
Content marketing without strategy is simply a series of articles, images and videos. Just creating content will not generate the customer acquisition that every ecommerce business is looking to achieve.
Instead, your content marketing strategy should be developed with the goal of creating content that addresses your target customer persona’s pain points, positions your brand as an authority and moves the customer further down the sales funnel towards conversion.
Here are the steps to take when creating a content marketing strategy for your ecommerce brand.
Before you can create content that speaks to your customer’s needs, wants and personalities, you need to know who they are. Use marketing insights and data to develop fictional representations of your customers.
You'll want to know data about them like demographics, personality, motivations, pain points and preferred channels of engagement. This information helps to guide your content angles, how your talk to your target customers and where you engage with them with content.
Use a customer persona template to visualize your target demographic.
Your entire content calendar needs to have an overall strategy that is leading potential customers down your sales funnel toward converting. Break your content calendar into silos by where each piece of content will fit in the sales funnel.
The top of your funnel is considered the awareness stage and content pieces should be informational without a hard sales pitch. This information should be easy to find across your blog, social media and search engines.
Middle of your funnel is the consideration stage where your content should engage more deeply to create trust and show you have a solution to their pain point.
Potential customers at this stage are doing extensive research to find the solution or product they want to purchase so providing case studies, comparison content or even free samples are a great way to guide customers towards conversion.
Bottom of your funnel is where the magic happens with potential customers. It’s where you win their business and convert them into customers. Use chatbots, live chat, email and retargeting messages to keep your message in front of them at the tipping point in their buying process.
To really flesh out your content marketing strategy, use a plan template like the one below.
As you deploy your content marketing strategy, it’s critical to measure how it’s performing. Is your content moving potential customers down the sales funnel? How long are they engaging with content? Are there certain types of content that are resonating more than others?
Analyzing the data you get back from the tools you use like Google Analytics, your email service provider and Ecommerce platform (just to name a few) will give you the feedback needed to make adjustments and improve your ROI going forward.
To help you get a good overview of how your strategy is going, put together a monthly or quarterly report using a template like this.
Want to get an idea of how your ecommerce business should be handling your content marketing? Here are some examples of ecommerce retailers doing content marketing right.
ASDA creatively highlights the use of its products through its YouTube channel “Mum’s Eye View.” The channel focuses, not on the brand, but different topics including beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle among others.
Asda’s channel features “how-to” guides that demonstrate ways in which customers can use their products. They also offer actionable tips from keeping your pets safe to weaning and potty training your young ones.
While they still advertise their products, the placement is so subtle you have to look carefully to notice it, which is great when providing informational content without disrupting your users with hard sells.
ASDA is a good example of an ecommerce retailer using video content to create brand awareness, authority, and engagement.
You can use the same approach from creating short to long videos filled with informational content on subjects related to your brand or that represent concepts that your brand embodies.
Made.com is a furniture brand that incorporates website copy and social media copy (Instagram) for its ecommerce content marketing. They have branded hashtags, which customers can use to be featured on Made.com’s Instagram or website.
Made.com also uses user-generated content to build social proof and encourage customer participation in the brand.
While the business is online-based, they have combined their online store with brick and motor showrooms where customers can experience the brand’s furniture in real life.
You can use the same approach with your ecommerce content marketing to encourage other users to purchase from your brand through user-generated content.
In addition to user-generated content, Made.com features an inspiration section where shoppers can find style tips, inspiration, and advice for creating their unique styles.
The content is visual and includes showing examples of people who have used certain designs and how they turned out. In addition to these style tips, made.com subtly links to their products and services naturally.
While still on the subject of guides, Nectar is using this approach to inform customers and provide a reference for people seeking to purchase mattresses.
Their mattress-buying guides are comprehensive, covering everything from the best mattress for different sleep positions to the different types of mattresses you will find in the market.
Nectar also offers additional content on modern health and sleep research. Their content marketing also reflects the differentiator for their brand as an eco-friendly mattress manufacturer. Nectar offers green advice to help the environment-conscious consumers find ways to recycle, donate, or increase the longevity of their mattresses.
You can use a similar approach with your brand by guiding customers on the different product choices they have and complimentary content that goes with your products.
For example, Nectar creates content around better sleep, which compliments their mattress-manufacturing brand.
What speaks better to your audience than an exhaustive list?
You can take the cue from ProFlowers if you want to go all out with your e-commerce content marketing. ProFlowers created an exhaustive well-research guide of “151 Types of Flowers” complete with the zones, seasons, and more.
This exhaustive guide has become a go-to resource for customers and brands in the industry and has been responsible for 42% of the organic traffic to their website.
You can take the same approach with your brand by creating an exhaustive informational guide. Such a guide will take time and effort but you will have an evergreen guide that customers and other brands can refer to.
The more customers and brands see you as a trusted resource in your niche, the more likely you are to become an authority and attract more customers and sales. In the end, it is a win-win situation for your ecommerce brand.
Modcloth is a fashion brand that has grown over the years through a customer-centric content marketing approach. This brand offers its customers style advice and outfit suggestions on its platforms, including Twitter and Instagram.
They take their approach a step further by representing their products through real-life people instead of using the industry-accepted fashion models. They feature the regular woman choosing their models from different fields (without modeling experience) to showcase their products.
Modcloth also embraces user-generated content by allowing customers to share and vote for their favorite designs, sometimes seeking their customers' opinions on certain designs.
You can take a similar customer-centered approach to develop more than a sell-buy relationship with your customers.
OKEx is an international cryptocurrency exchange. With a product as personal as individual finance, they need to invest heavily into providing content that is educational as well as analytical.
Buying, selling and investing in digital currency requires analysis to stay on top of trends in the market so investors don’t lose money.
OKEx provides analysis focused content and tools for every cryptocurrency to show things like historical Bitcoin price trends and charts to help investors make the right decisions.
Other brands with more complex products and services need to learn from OKEx and invest in developing tools and trend analysis that helps their current and prospective customers make decisions that help their bottom line.
MR PORTER luxury e-commerce brand that deals in men’s clothing and personal care products uses their digital magazine, Journal, to provide additional value to customers.
The journal presents editorial content that features influencers then lists the products these influencers are wearing in their interviews.
This presents their products subtly and in a relaxed atmosphere rather than a catalog-style format. MR PORTER's also offers style advice to its audience to help them be well-groomed and stylish.
No two brands do their marketing the same. While they might follow the same concepts, every brand has a unique story to tell and a different mission from other e-commerce stores in the same industry.
If you're looking to get your ecommerce content marketing right, you have to identify the factors that make your brand stand out, your brand vision, and the values that your brand reflects. Here are steps you can take in your own content marketing strategy.
Incorporate these into textual, visual, or audio content to engage with your customers. Learn what has worked for similar brands and implement these lessons. Some principles to follow include:
Identify the KPIs that mean success for your content marketing strategy. Do you want to provide top of funnel information that helps convert visitors to email subscribers? Are you using gated white papers or studies to schedule consulting calls?
By clearly defining what success means, you can then measure the right data points to see how well you are executing on your strategy.
Leverage data points from your CRM, eCommerce platform, project management tool and Google Analytics in a professional BI dashboard to have a visual understanding of your content marketing strategy’s progress.
How much has been invested? What team members are working on each project? How much has traffic increased? What’s your conversion rate of particular content pieces? You need to have these data points available on a daily basis to spot issues as well as opportunities.
Last, but certainly not least, take advantage of a tool that can help you create stunning, eye-catching and successful content for your content marketing strategy. A tool like Visme is the perfect solution to creating ebooks, infographics, white papers, case studies and more.
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The key takeaway is that your ecommerce content marketing strategy must focus on providing value to your customers. It should earn you trust, engagement, and authority. Therefore, focus on building a connection first before you think about selling your products.
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