SEO and PPC take most of the glory for driving sales online, but let’s not forget about another important strategy — content marketing. Often considered as an SEO-related activity, content marketing can be a powerful action plan on its own.
Besides generating traffic to attract new customers, content marketing can also build a brand’s image. Through storytelling, ecommerce brands can showcase their values and beliefs to appeal to their readers. Additionally, content can serve to encourage existing customers to repeat purchases by reminding them to come back to the store.
What about users who have shown interest in the store by becoming social media followers or joining a newsletter, but who have not made a purchase yet? Content marketing can help turn that audience into a paying one through content nurturing. The key to driving results is to have a thorough strategy. If executed poorly, the strategy can cause as much harm as it can do good. Continue reading for 6 tips that will help you create a winning ecommerce content marketing strategy.
What Is Content Marketing?
First, let’s take a step back and make sure we are all on the same page about what content marketing is. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The definition itself shines some light on some important components: creation, distribution and a defined audience. These are essential parts addingup to creation of a successful content strategy. Without distribution, there wouldn’t be any reach or impact.
Also, without a defined audience, the content wouldn’t be able to be tailored to relate to the target audience — thus, resulting in irrelevant content which is not impactful. Let’s discuss a bit more about structure in the next section.
Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy
1. Define your Target Customers and their Interests
The first step to creating relevant content is knowing to whom you are talking. Different buyers will have different needs, interests, and, ultimately, content preferences. What may be interesting to one buyer may not be interesting to another one.
To clearly define different targets, it’s useful to create buyer personas, which are representations of ideal customers. For instance, if you are a women’s jewelry retailer, you may have the following buyer personas:
- Women buying jewelry for themselves
- Men/partners buying jewelry for their significant others
- People buying jewelry as gifts
Those personas would be further defined by demographics, interests and behaviors. The “partner buyers” may be interested in a guide on “How to Find the Perfect Engagement Ring” or “How to Propose,” whereas women buying jewelry for themselves may be interested in a topic like “How to Match Jewelry to Outfits.”
Both targets can be equally profitable but require different strategies and content. Keeping those audience nuances in mind will help you generate better content overall.
2. Consider Different Stages in the Buying Process.
This tip serves as an additional filter to refine and segment a target audience. Knowing your target buyer personas and what stage in the buying cycle they are in will help you better tailor your content to address their needs and anticipate doubts or questions.
The buying cycle can be simplified into 3 stages:
Content can help you bring new potential customers to the Awareness stage by ranking organically for keywords that are related to your business. For instance, if you sell gift packages for firefighters, it may be a good idea to rank for searches like “Top Gifts for Firefighters” or the “Ultimate Guide for Firefighter Gifts.” Gift company Dodoburd followed this strategy, ranking no. 1 in organic results for “Gifts for Firefighters.”
Users searching with those keywords land on the article and become aware of the brand. Notice that the topic suggests that the user is in the very initial stages of the buying process. Those users are looking for ideas of what to buy and comparing their options.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to nurture potential customers that are in the Consideration stage, it would be best to create content that highlights your benefits and unique value proposition. For example, you can create an article about your brand’s story or the quality of your products. The goal is to persuade the potential customer that your product is a must-buy.
3. Use the Keyword Planner for Keyword Research
Now that you have a better idea of whom you are writing for, it’s time to brainstorm your content calendar. This is where keyword research and the keyword planner come in handy. This free tool provided by Google will help you get key data about the keywords you’re interested in.
For instance, the keyword planner can provide keyword volume, CPC, and competition data. Knowing the keyword search volume for specific terms will help you measure the potential success of your “awareness” type of content.
If the topics you’re interested in have no or low search volume, it means that no one is looking for those terms. Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to write about them because they would not bring any traffic to the website.
You can also use the keyword planner to get topic ideas for related searches. Simply enter a keyword related to your business and hit search. Repeat this process with similar keywords to find more topics.
4. Create a Content Calendar.
Once you have brainstormed different topic ideas and have categorized them by persona and buying stage, it’s important to get organized. Create a content calendar to ensure consistency and organization within your team.
A simple Google Sheet is all you need to start. Just add a column for Topic, Focus Keyword, Deadline, Writer, and Status. Then the writers, the person publishing the content, and the SEO or marketing specialist can be in sync to create a smooth workflow.
Optimally, content should be published constantly with a similar posting schedule to achieve the best results for search engine optimization or SEO.
Also, having a content calendar allows your marketing and content team members to be in sync to produce assets that are aligned intone and look and feel. For example, if your articles have a very fun tone and your ads have a serious one, your customers may get disengaged because the brand doesn’t look unified.
5. Optimize Content Format
You can write all day and night and not produce any results if your content is not distributed correctly. There are three key things to keep in mind when distributing content:
- Content Format
- Distribution Platform
In this tip, we will cover content format. Whether your content is published as a video, article, or guide, it’s vital to keep an optimized format to ensure the content is as engaging as it can be. After all, if people don’t engage with or read your content, all the work you put into it would be in vain. Follow the quick tips below to optimize your content.
For Articles or Guides:
- Illustrate the content with images. It makes content come to life.
- Short paragraphs are best (about 3 lines). They are easier to scan than long paragraphs.
- Use simple language. Complicated language can be intimidating for some readers.
- Keep it short and sweet. One minute or less is perfect for social media and websites.
- Get to the point. The first seconds of your video are the most important; don’t waste them with long, boring intros.
- Add subtitles or in-text. It helps users that watch videos silently.
6. Use Paid Advertising to Promote your Content
The competition is fierce. There are millions of eCommerce retailers just like you, following best practices and doing all the right things. So, unless you are Kim Kardashian with a massive following, you’ll need to invest some money in paid advertising to be able to reach your target audience.
One of the best ways to get this additional exposure is Facebook advertising. With Facebook’s business platform, you’ll be able to create ads for both Facebook and Instagram, applying many different targeting options.
If you have a base of followers, I’d advise that you start by advertising to them. They already know your brand, so getting engagement from them will be more affordable than trying to target a completely new audience. Then target friends of followers. This target audience will have more trust in your brand knowing that one of their friends already follows you.
Now, Over to You
What has been your experience with content marketing? Have you had any success? Comment below!
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