However, if resources are misused, they can eat up resources. Retailers, therefore, need to invest wisely in their marketing efforts. We are going to show you how to create an e-commerce content marketing strategy that resonates with buyers and puts your position at stake relative to your competitors.
What is content marketing in e-commerce?
Content marketing is a branch of marketing that involves creating and sharing free quality content to attract prospects and eventually convert them to customers. In e-commerce, retailers can use content marketing to educate, entertain, and inspire people to gain their trust and build brand awareness.
This takes time. Content marketing will not increase your store sales tomorrow. It is an element of a marketing strategy, often used in conjunction with SEO and social media. Content marketing helps retailers increase their brand value over the long term. And as more and more people learn from you and love your brand, your customer acquisition costs go down.
Let’s take a look at some of the successes and the steps you can take to join their ranks.
A better example of e-commerce content marketing
A direct link to sales – or even products – is not always apparent, even in the best examples of content marketing. However, the three online commerce stores described below have likely grown due to the connection they have established with consumers through their content.
Businesses realize that consumers don’t want to be advertised; they want to be entertained. It’s no wonder that investments in branded entertainment are growing twice as fast as other marketing initiatives. Video is the ideal medium for this type of e-commerce content marketing.
The online home design store Houzz has launched its own video series called My Houzz. The series stars such as Kate Upton and Neil Patrick Harris, who worked with Houzz to make a secret makeover of the house of a loved one, with a big reveal at the end.
The brand uses celebrities as influencers to grab attention, which builds up-and-down awareness of Houzz’s home design resources. The videos of My Houzz refer to Houzz products, planting its brand firmly before the faithful follow-up of the stars.
When Houzz started, the site gained momentum thanks to user-generated content. People uploaded photos of their project and asked questions during forum discussions. According to press reports, the website has more than 40 million unique users each month. 90% of Houzz users are homeowners who use it to decorate & renovate their homes from start to finish.
Storytelling has long played a role in marketing, but it also has a place in electronic commerce. Retail giant Patagonia puts story first in its content marketing, which includes documentaries, essays in its catalogues, blogs and campaigns.
He embraces themes such as environmentalism that are important to his target audience and the brand, using content that leaves no question of his deep commitment.
Patagonia seems so deeply invested in causes that she argues that she almost feels dishonest about calling it marketing. But that’s part of what helps e-commerce content marketing to attract fans.
More than an outdoor clothing and equipment company, Patagonia offers a lifestyle and ideals.
The company keeps its documentaries completely separate from product offerings, making it a premium e-commerce content strategy. Blue Heart, his documentary on the damaging effects of dams, resides in a sub-domain of the Patagonia site and, although you can see the brand’s affiliation, you will not see its products highlighted.
Getting started guide to e-commerce content marketing
Not all e-commerce stores have the budget for celebrities or lavish video production. But small retailers can leverage the same principles with a well thought out content strategy.
Learn how to analyze competitors and spot opportunities to start your own content marketing program by following the steps below.
1. Determine your message
Even with a low investment, you can have a big impact if you focus on getting the message right. How are your customers affected by this issue that also matters to you and your business? Do you have any kind of unique background or story to tell? What causes are you passionate about and which correspond to your products?
There are so many audience analysis tools that can help you find topics that interest your customers. You can use the audience overlay tool to find other websites that attract the same customers.
When your brand’s story matches your customers’ values, you can create a sense of confidence that advertising simply cannot buy.
2. Choose your medium (s)
What content/story do you want to create and how will you deliver it to users/customers? First think about how your audience prefers to consume information, then what supports are within your reach. Try to start with the one you think can have the greatest impact. After seeing the success, you can add more channels.
Here are some questions to help you identify the right media to start with:
Can you blog regularly?
How could videos fit into the image?
What about podcasting?
Are there any local or online events that your users/customers attend?
Can you think of a way to exploit user-generated content, such as product piracy by customers, testimonials, a group of online users, etc.?
Would customers benefit from downloadable resources on your websites, such as checklists, templates, eBooks, or a printable calendar?
What resources can you devote to social media and what platforms do your customers use?
Use the site audit to see what is currently attracting users to your website and that of your competitors. If a medium appears to be an opportunity, but you don’t currently have the resources you will need internally, see if you can hire or outsource it to make it happen.
3. Amplify your content
This is where you get yourself into the “marketing” aspect of content marketing. Content creation in itself is not enough – you have to actively promote your content.
How are you going to amplify your message? Some options:
Reward sharing your content through a referral program.
Work with influencers who attract your buyers.
Partner with business/brands you sell or other retailers as well as associations.
Evaluate if SEO e-commerce makes sense for you.
Target people who interact with your content using paid ads.
Capture emails from people visiting your site so you can remarket them with an email newsletter.
Assess the complementary interests of your customers using the SEO audit. This analysis may indicate partnership opportunities or spark ideas for collaboration with other companies whose products complement yours.
Whatever message, medium and marketing tactics you choose, start with a clear idea of your goals and how you will measure results. This way you will know what is working and when to try something new.
One last tip and your next step
Content marketing in e-commerce can help you gain a powerful competitive advantage as part of a marketing strategy. Just remember that content marketing is most effective when it’s focused on building a connection with your audience. Your content itself must generate value to gain commitment and trust.