What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of
creating engaging, valuable and informative content
in different formats (videos, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, case studies, reports, slide decks, templates, cheatsheets
and workbooks distribute across every digital platform and engage, inform and attract the audience
Thereby driving consumer actions that are profitable and positive for brands.
It is compelling content that relates to a targeted audience that goes through a buying process. But it’s not that simple. You need to writing something of value. Something that your targeted customers will gain from or content that offers some value. For eCommerce business owners who regularly update their social media accounts with content marketing to promote products, they know how hard it is to post relevant and informative content that keeps customers engaged. But, if it is so hard, why is it important?
Let’s see 10 reasons why content marketing is essential for eCommerce brands:
10 Reasons Why Content Marketing is Important for eCommerce Brands?
Content marketing for eCommerce is just as crucial as product building or market strategizing. It provides customers with a story behind the brand’s creation and evolution and offers valuable insights into the products themselves. Here are 10 reasons why content marketing to promote products is essential for eCommerce brands:
1) Build loyalty in customers:
If you give customers a reason to be loyal to your brand, they will stay loyal – and content marketing is the best way to increase loyalty. Give your customers relevant information that they need. By creating relevant content, you let your customers know that you have heard their queries and have answered them. A loyal customer, on average, is worth 10X a first buyer. With content marketing, you now give your repeat customers a reason to return again and again to your brand.
2) Optimized content to improve SEO efforts:
When it comes to improving SEO to increase brand visibility, content marketing plays a lead role. ECommerce brands that post consistent blog content have an average of 434% more pages indexed by search engines than those that do not publish at all.
So, the more content you have on your site, the more pages search engines can index to show visitors.
But, you cannot create any odd content and expect high traffic. You need to create content relevant to your brand and your target audience using the right keywords to better rank your brand. With relevant content, you also have a better reason for customers to stick around your site. This means a higher on-site time that positively impacts SEO.
3) Good content influences conversions:
If you think that content marketing is not relevant in this day and age, then look at these conversion statistics:
1) Content marketing provides 7.8X higher conversion rates than other digital marketing options
2) 62% of US customers make a purchase from peer recommendations on a blog
3) 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers
4) According to CMT’s digital content marketing stats, 72% of marketers say that content marketing increases engagement
Content marketing is a great way to increase conversions because it allows you to connect with your customers and build brand trust. You provide customers with the information to make an informed decision regarding a purchase, which helps encourage conversions.
4) Showcase your expertise in the field:
One primary reason why content marketing is essential for eCommerce brands is that it allows brands to showcase their expertise. Customers want information. But, they want information from the experts. Content marketing lets your brands demonstrate their knowledge in the field.
Every time you publish a post or video, you show your customers that you are an expert in the industry and know the challenges they will face. When customers want to make a purchase, they will remember the brand that provides them with the best information to understand its solution. That way, customers know that they are being taken care of by industry experts.
5) Bring in better leads at cost-effective rates:
If you are still wondering why content marketing is essential for eCommerce brands, then it’s time to look at how content brings in new leads. Lead generation is significant for small businesses. It helps boost sales and grow a brand. But, content marketing is not only an excellent option for lead generation, but it is also affordable.
According to DemandMetric, Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing tactics but generates about 3 times as many leads. So, for small or medium businesses that want to maximize their budget, content marketing is a great tactic. It is also important to note that content marketing is time-intensive – it takes a while to see results. Again, you can see the importance of content marketing when you look at ROIs.
Since it is affordable to create content, small businesses can produce 3X many leads as paid search ads. This is key to maximizing content ROI is by creating a solid marketing strategy that considers your target market. If you want your strategy to work, you need to choose topics that interest your customers, assess your products, and restrategize your strategy.
6) Set yourself apart from your competitors:
In the present eCommerce market, it is vital to stand out in the crowd, and the best way to do that is by using content marketing. Any topic you choose and the information you add can make all the difference, especially with a competitor.
Let’s say a customer is looking for products to help them overcome a specific problem; then they will look for a brand that provides them with information to solve the problem. Other than that, you also need to develop a brand voice and personality. This will set your brand apart from your competitors.
Find your brand’s voice and personality is a great way to build additional content. Is your brand fun and educational, or is it more professional? Or maybe it’s a mix of both? Whatever your brand personality is can help connect with target buyers and show them what makes your brand different.
7) Build a relationship with your customers:
You may be thinking that content marketing may not be essential for your eCommerce brand? Then think about how content marketing helps you build a better relationship with your customers.
We already know just how important content is in building trust and helping reach new leads. But what about all those customers who have already purchased from your store? Repeat customers are the biggest customers for small businesses.
So, when these loyal customers make up a significant portion of your revenue, you need to make sure you find a way to connect with them. This is where content marketing factors in. But adding content does not stop once a lead becomes a customer. It helps encourage repeat sales and establish the brand as a powerful advocate for the sector.
8) Let customers connect with your products and brand:
If you think customers don’t read content, think again. 68% of people like to read about brands they find interesting. And an additional 80% of users like to learn about companies through custom content.
So, why not give customers what they want?
If you want your content to be effective, you cannot ignore the data you have from your audience. Create customized content that speaks to your audience and offer them some content of value. No matter how you choose to showcase yourself, use your content to show customers what your brand is about. Create content that focuses on your products while highlighting just how your product can help them overcome a challenge.
9) Increase Brand Recognition:
What do McDonald’s, KFC, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes, Audi, BMW all have in common? People recognize the brand just from the logo. Their logos know all major brands.
So, for a small eCommerce business to get noticed, content marketing is the easiest and best way. Create a name for yourself in your sector with relevant information that keeps customers waiting for more. That’s how most YouTube brands have a following. The target audience views the videos created and then subscribes if they like them.
Similarly, when you have a set content marketing strategy in place, customers get used to seeing a post or a video, depending on your uploading skills. When your content becomes the basis for your brand, you know that you have achieved the ultimate Brand Recognition level. And that is what content marketing helps you succeed.
10) Content is essential for Lead Nurturing:
Lead nurturing is another crucial aspect of content marketing. Think about it – how long does it take you to decide to buy a product? It can take some customers a few minutes, while others may need a few months. Some may immediately subscribe to your YouTube channel, while some may watch for a few months before becoming a patron.
Every customer has a different cycle, but you need to nurture each lead you get as a business owner. The best way to promote a lead is by email marketing. If you segment your customers based on their interests, you can send targeted newsletters based on how far they are in their respective funnels. Other ways to nurture leads are by adding hashtags to Facebook and Twitter or by using Pinterest boards. In the end, you need to think like your customers and connect with them at their potential touchpoints to make a sale.
Now that we know why content marketing is essential, let us check the types of content marketing that can be done for eCommerce stores:
12 Types of Content Marketing That is Relevant for eCommerce Stores
Blogs are the best way to add relevant product information to your website so that customers can find the answers they are looking for. Blog posts are a low-cost option to not only boost organic traffic but also improve SEO. When adding blog posts, make sure you keep them relevant to your products, add information your customers are searching for, and optimize SEO.
Not to be confused with eBooks. Whitepapers are densely packed articles full of information and data. Whitepapers pay attention to an exact research phase. They are visually stunning documents with charts and graphs that highlight a specific topic. More prominent brands create whitepapers to let their customers, competitors, and investors know how they faced a challenge and won head-on. You need to make sure that you need to make the content appealing when creating a whitepaper while highlighting the key takeaways. That way, nothing is lost in translation.
A fun way to energize a marketing strategy – infographics add the eye-catching factor to content. These visually captivating art pieces are a marketers’ cheatsheet to presenting statistics and data in a quick and low-cost process. The most significant advantage of an infographic is that customers can see the main data points, and it can be easily added to social media accounts. But make sure that it has the correct links to a blog relevant to it. Otherwise, it won’t really make sense.
4) Case studies:
Case studies are a great way to let customers learn more about themselves from a business viewpoint. Customers interested in studies and data can go through various case studies to see what your finding is. Let’s say you have been successful in marketing a product that has now become the symbol or icon of your brand. A case study into what your marketing strategy was, how you implemented it, and your customers’ reaction will help other upcoming businesses understand the market and cement your place as a ‘guru or expert’ in the customers’ eyes.
We all know what memes are, but is it good enough to use them as a part of content marketing?
Memes are a new type of content marketing that has an image with a culturally relevant text. If you align a meme perfectly with a situation, it can become the next big sensation.
Some of the best examples of Memes used by brands are:
a) Netflix: #Birdbox meme
b) Seamless: The Wolf of Waffle Street #OscarNomNoms
c) Gucci: Me vs the guy she says I shouldn’t worry about @cabbagecatmemes:
If your eCommerce business offers any software products or buildable products, then how-to guides are a great option to add to your content marketing. Some of the biggest names like Google, Shopify, and even Amazon have ‘how-to’ guides to train customers in the correct usage of their products.
For small business owners, this is not entirely feasible. But, you could use Instagram Carousel to explain the ‘how-to’ of your products visually. You can create 30-second clips or add multiple photos in a post and share them on Instagram to let customers know just how to use your products.
7) User-Generated Content:
User-Generated Content is a great way to let your customers do the talking for you. People respond better than them and trust a brand more when real people vouch for them.
One of the best examples of user-generated content is the tweet that a Wendy’s fan gave to the fast-food giant for Friday the 13th. The Jason-Wendy mashup tweet by Alex Pardee had over 3.5K likes and was a bonus for Wendy’s fans.
8) Email Newsletters:
A well-written email newsletter is a perfect way to bridge the gap between generating leads and keeping clients happy. Adding an email campaign to your content marketing strategy is a great way to establish your brand’s voice and to allow customers to connect with you.
Email newsletters are also insanely useful when it comes to lead generation. In fact, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in acquiring customers. So, start sending out planned email newsletters to your loyal customers to let them know what your brand is about or the latest addition to your product line.
Podcasts are a portmanteau of iPod and Broadcasts. It started as an independent way for people to get their message across a similar community. These podcasts are packed with information and are useful mediums to engage customers with.
Podcasts have low competition – with only a handful of other podcasts discussing issues relevant to your business. This type of content is perfect for multi-tasking and does not demand too much attention from the customers. One of the most significant advantages of a podcast is that listeners are substantial to their favorite programs. /since podcasts establish a direct connection with the listeners, the loyalty translates to other marketing channels as well, with 20% more channels likely to connect with a brand on social media.
For an eCommerce brand, the addition of a podcast is great as it gives customers a connecting point. But, a podcast may not always be relevant for your industry. Make sure you check to see if there are any pertinent podcasts of your niche and look for topics people want to listen to that are related to your brand.
Videos are a versatile option where you can create different content that leaves your customers wanting more. ECommerce store owners can use videos to highlight their brand vision, showcase products, and even add a ‘how-to’ section to show customers the product’s best utility. While videos require more effort – production, cameras, lights, and editing – yield better rewards.
Ebooks are not novels. Yes, they are longer-form blogs, but they are not just to add literature to your brand. Ebooks are another great way of showcasing your knowledge of the market, audience, and products your brand is a part of. When creating eBooks, keep in mind that you need to make the content relevant and engaging while adding keywords to make sure customers can organically find it.
12) Reviews and Testimonials:
Like user-generated content, reviews and testimonials are a great way to get potential customers interested in your brand. Think about this, if your favorite basketball player writes a review about a pair of shoes they always wear, then wouldn’t you be intrigued? Anyone would.
Similarly, smaller brands can add their customer reviews and testimonials to their website or in emails to other customers to show how much people (like themselves) value the brand.
But, you do NOT need to use all in your content marketing strategy. Stick to those which you are good at – build to your strengths.
Now that we know the types of content you can use for your brand, let’s look at How you can develop the content for your marketing strategies:
5 Tips to Remember before Developing the Content for your Marketing Strategies?
1) Know your Brand:
Before you start planning your content marketing for Shopify websites or any eCommerce website, you need to understand your brand. Go back to your brand’s mission and vision and understand what drove you to start the business. Find out your drive behind the industry and know what you need to do to get the idea across to your customers.
2) Choose the Right Target Audience:
Once you know what your brand is about, it is time to understand your audience. You need to know who your target audience is and where to find them. Let’s say you are selling handcrafted tables as a significant product for your eCommerce brand.
Now you know that it is for adults in the age group of 20-60. So, would you show your ads to people above or below that age? Obviously not. This is why you need to choose the right target audience for your brand.
3) See What Your Competitors are Doing:
Before you plan your content marketing strategy, you need to make sure you know what your competitors are doing. Keep track of their social marketing strategies, and check to see which platforms they use. That way, you can get an idea of what your target audience is looking for and create better content that will gain more converts.
4) Branch out into different content types – blogs, videos, podcasts:
Remember, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. You need to space your content marketing out over a variety of channels. Consider all the different types of content marketing that you can use, and pick a few that work best with your brand. Let’s say your eCommerce store sells clothes and accessories made from recycled goods. You can create blogs, whitepapers, YouTube videos, and even have a podcast dedicated to your brand’s process and help for the environment.
5) Set and Identify Goals for your content:
Finally, when choosing the different Content types, identify the goals you want your content to achieve and work towards completing them. But make sure you have achievable goals – it’s not possible to want 1 million subscribers or 10k votes in the first month.
Once you have these tips in place, let’s look at the different ways to market those content:
8 Ways to Market your Content on Social Media
1) Create Impactful Visuals:
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words – in fact, just over 60% of tweets are twice as likely to be retweeted. We also know that three of the ‘newer’ social networks Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, are entirely based on images. This is why it is essential to leverage visuals when promoting content.
But, you need to create separate images for different posts. Using the same generic image to create posts will not help you get the attention you want. So, it is always better to get photos taken by professionals instead of just using stock images.
2) Write Intriguing Headlines:
You may be writing the industry’s best content, but it will not make a splash on social media if your titles aren’t catchy. But, here’s the thing, you can always test out which title is performing better for which social network. Create 2-3 titles and perform A/B testing to see which one works the best with your audience.
3) Customize for Individual Platforms:
When creating social marketing content, you need to make sure you utilize each social media platform’s posting features. You can change the title, image and even add individual descriptions to grab the attention of visitors. The more optimized your social post, the more effective its promotion will be.
Let’s say you share a link on Facebook. You can add an exciting headline with relevant images and a short description. You can then customize the image using filters, add hashtags, and change the title on Instagram. Finally, you can share the Instagram link on Twitter to highlight the new content.
4) Timing is Everything:
Though this may seem simple, most people overlook the concept of timing. If you want maximum engagement, then your content needs to reach as many people as possible. So, you need to upload your content when the crowd is online. You need to compile a content calendar to ensure that you post during a specific time.
Keep in mind; social media platforms have different peak times. So, it merely comes to an understanding of when to use which social network and experimentation. But not to worry, some social media platforms have aids like Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights along with third-party tools to estimate the best timing to share on platforms.
5) Share Multiple Times:
Multiple studies suggest that it is more effective to promote the same content multiple times on different social media platforms. Most social media users do not see the content on the same day, which is why it is sufficient to post the same content multiple times to make sure your audience has the chance to see your content.
6) Share on the Right Platform:
With the rise in the number of social media platforms, it is hard to keep up with which platform to use. Having accounts on multiple platforms is a great way to stay ahead of the game – it helps add creativity and fosters innovation. Again, you need to make sure you choose the right platforms when posting your content. You need to make sure that you familiarize yourself with the major social media platforms your target audience uses. Try and avoid dumping content across all channels. Concentrate on those channels where you have the highest chance of engagement.
7) Leverage your Communities:
Leveraging communities is another great way to utilize the strength you have in numbers to promote your content on social media platforms. But, you first have to have a community behind you. There are already multiple communities across social media platforms – in fact, there are more than 2 million communities on LinkedIn, not to mention Twitter, Facebook Groups, and Pinterest boards.
As an eCommerce business owner, you need to become an engaging member of relevant communities that allows you to connect with your targeted audience. You can then promote your content to your targeted audience via these social media communities.
8) Let your Brand Advocates help you:
Employees, partners, friends, and family are great brand advocates, especially for small eCommerce brands. By getting more people to share your content online, you can get more visibility. So, let people close to you be your biggest advocates.
So, let’s look at the process involved with adding Content Marketing on Social Media:
What are the Processes involved with adding Content Marketing to Social Media?
1) Review your Content Marketing Strategy:
Before you start adding your content on social media platforms, make sure you review your content. It should be relatable and must contain information that your customers want. Also, make sure you check your keyword strength and optimize for SEO.
2) Align your Marketing Goals with your Content Marketing Strategies:
When adding your content marketing strategies, make sure that they align with your marketing goals. Adding content just for the sake of giving customers something to read is not good enough. You need to add a clear CTA with a clear marketing goal in mind. If your marketing goal is to get more customers, you need to make sure that your content marketing connects with your strategy.
3) Decide on which Networks you want to use:
When planning to set up your social media accounts, make sure you choose your brand’s right platforms. Also, define a different strategy for each. An excellent way to do so is by writing a mission statement for each network. Focus on a particular goal you want that platform to achieve for your brand. If you cannot create one that aligns with your brand marketing goals, you may not need that account.
4) Audit your current social media channel campaigns:
If you are using social media already, you need to check your work so far.
So, ask yourself important questions like:
a) What is working?
b) Who is engaging with your content?
c) Which network does your target audience use the most?
d) How does your social media presence compare to those of your competitors?
Once you have all the information, your audit should give you a clear view of your accounts. It can help you find ways to improve. If your account’s purpose is not clear, then it is time to leave that network. Make sure to also check for impostor accounts or fake accounts using your brand name. Report them to get them disbanded.
5) Establish a brand tone, voice, and personality:
If you check the social media accounts of big brands, you will see that their tone or brand personality comes across in their social media accounts. Nike, Adidas, and Puma all have inspirational sports updates; National Geographic has some of the best visuals with compelling captions. Fenti beauty has some of the most inclusive visuals catering to their broad customer base. But they all follow their own brand tone and voice.
As an eCommerce business owner, you need to make sure that your brand’s tone or personality comes across in your content. Do not try to imitate what your competitors are doing – your brand may be more docile and subtle while another may be aggressive. If you suddenly change your strategy, then it may force your loyal customers to another brand.
6) Research your competitors:
Most brands have social media accounts, and you can be assured that your competitors have them as well. Create a competitive analysis to understand what is working for them and get a sense of your social media targets. This way, you can also check for opportunities that your competitors missed and work them into your social media goals.
One way to keep a check on your competitors is by searching for their brand name or Twitter handle or trending hashtags to find what the customers are saying. As you start tracking, you will notice a shift in how various competitors use the channels. You can even spot a campaign or ad that really hit the mark or bombed. Using this information, you can create your own social media strategy targeting those areas your competitors missed.
7) Create a daily to-do list:
When creating social media accounts, you need to remember to keep a check on those accounts. The best way to do this is by creating a daily to-do list. Keep a list of accounts to check and the last data analysis done handy, and regular check on your campaigns. This way, you have a day-by-day breakdown of which content did well on which specific days and on which platform. This will make your work more manageable when you go to share other content marketing ideas.
8) You Need To Find Inspiration:
It is great to have unique content for your social media platforms. But it is not easy to post unique content every single time. This is where you can draw inspiration from other businesses. Check award-winning campaigns by brands at the top of their game, look for fan favorites on social media platforms, or just ask your customers what they want to see or read about next. This will give you several ideas for your content marketing.
Finally, let’s look at some examples of brands using social media platforms to showcase their content marketing:
Best Platforms to Use for Content Marketing
Twitter: Spotify’s #yearwrapped
Spotify’s #yearwrapped campaign highlighted the most important music events like best songs, most listened genre, and other data. This social media strategy worked because Spotify combined two of the most significant psychological triggers – Personalization and FOMO.
Porsche launched their Facebook ads with the best upgrades – a carousel with a video and a messenger bot – all in one campaign. With this latest addition, Porsche got over 1.3K likes.
Users could view images, watch a video and chat with the Porsche chatbot in the same post.
Instagram: Starbucks UK’s #WhatsYourName
Starbucks UK partnered with Mermaids to focus on transgender rights. The campaign used the Starbucks experience of writing your name on the cup and encouraging customers to use the hashtag to tell them about their experiences with gender. The campaign had a significant emotional impact, especially on transgender people.
Pinterest: Honest Beauty:
Honest Beauty skincare trial pack was highlighted in their Pinterest pins to let customers see what works best for them.
YouTube: Greggs Vegan Sausage Rolls:
Greggs began their social media strategy in 2019, with the YouTube ad to promote the bakery chain’s vegan sausage roll. The bakery had a shrewd social media strategy, with a humorous tone. They shared their YouTube video on Twitter and even had a response ready for Piers Morgan.
Amazon (a primary shopping research site for many consumers): Fuji Polaroid Camera Ads:
The ad is a Sponsored ad highlighting all the crucial factors like the make and model of the camera, price, reviews, and shipping time.
Niche sites like CNET for tech products:
Getting Niche sites to write about your products is the best way to attract more customers. Creating content marketing strategies that offer your brand the best visibility is a great way to get noticed by niche websites and have your products reviewed.
Blog Posts: Backlinko
One of the best SEO expert blog posts online, Brian Dean’s Backlinko is excellent, especially content marketing. You can get their weekly SEO tips via email along with 170,000 other subscribers.
Online forums like Reddit, Quora:
Maker’s Mark got creative by posting their ads on Reddit and Sub-Reddit. This ad had an 86% upvote.
Quora is also another platform that is great for brands to connect with their customers directly. Brands can not only post ads but can also answer queries posted by customers.
Online reviews are one of the best ways to grab the attention of potential customers. Let your loyal customers do the brand endorsements for you, just like DiGiorno Pizza did.
Content marketing is a powerful tool that eCommerce business owners utilized to generate ROIs and increase customer loyalty. Remember to create content that is – engaging, relatable, and new – that customers want to share. Create content that will enrich your customers and leave a lasting impression for years to come.