Many of today’s brands are reducing their usage of traditional forms of marketing (or forgoing it completely) and opting to use content marketing instead to help their businesses grow.
In fact, a 2019 study of global marketers by Statista found that 91% of those who responded were using content marketing in their promotional strategies.
If you’re new to ecommerce, you may be scratching your head and wondering what content marketing is and how it functions in the world of online sales.
Put simply, content marketing is the sharing of content that provides audiences with valuable information without explicitly promoting a product or business. It’s generally much less “in your face” and “salesy” than more direct forms of marketing, such as a TV ad.
The aim of content marketing is to build authority and trust with your target market to increase their interest in your business. As you strengthen your relationship with your audience, they’ll be more apt to turn to your store when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Why use content marketing?
Content marketing offers brands numerous benefits that make it impossible to ignore in today’s market.
When used strategically, content marketing can increase brand awareness, generate leads, improve search engine optimization (SEO), boost customer engagement, and much more.
As the history of content marketing demonstrates, no matter a company’s niche or what product they sell, content marketing is advantageous for helping them achieve their business goals.
However, it’s important that you develop a carefully planned strategy to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your content marketing efforts.
To get you started on the right track, it’s a good idea to comprehend how content marketing works and what skills and types of content are required for success.
How does content marketing work?
As you develop the content marketing strategy for your ecommerce business, understanding how content marketing functions can assist you in determining how to best convert site visitors or social media followers into customers.
Because content marketing is generally less expensive than traditional marketing, it’s worth taking the time to create the best strategy possible for your brand.
In this next section, I’ll explain exactly how content marketing works to help you grow your business and increase your store’s sales.
Note that this is how content marketing should ideally work, but even the most skilled marketers will encounter unexpected challenges occasionally.
When this occurs for you, take a step back, do a bit more research, and figure out how to improve your strategy to return even stronger!
1. You create free, useful content for your audience
The first step in effective content marketing involves creating content that’s going to bring value to your potential customers’ lives.
Your content can take on many different forms, as you’ll see later on in the article. To reach as many people as possible, you’ll want to incorporate a variety of types of content marketing in your strategy.
However, you don’t want to use content marketing as a platform to tell people why they should buy your product.
With all the different channels available to you, it may be tempting to advertise your product every chance you can with your content. This is unlikely to bring your store success, though.
Great content marketing answers your audience’s questions and helps solve problems they’re currently facing. Avoid posting something just for the sake of posting.
Every piece of content you share should be intentional and designed to benefit your target market in some way.
2. You distribute this content online
Of course, no matter how amazing your content is, it won’t do your business any good if nobody sees it. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to circulate your content on the internet to get it to reach your target market and attract more traffic to your site.
For example, say you’ve just written a new article for your blog. Using excellent SEO practices can help ensure that it ranks well with search engines like Google.
This is essential, as when people search for a specific keyword, they’re unlikely to go beyond the first page of results in their search.
Besides optimizing your content for SEO, you can widen your brand’s reach by sharing content across your various social media channels. The manner in which you disburse content will depend on the network you’re using.
In most cases, you’ll either create a post that links directly to your new blog article or share the link in your profile and post an image or video connected to the article topic.
If you collaborate with social media influencers, you can even request that they post a link to your content on their own profiles to increase your visibility further!
3. Your audience finds your content
The next step in the content marketing process involves your target audience discovering your mind-blowing content. This is why it’s crucial that your content includes trending keywords and involves topics that are relevant to prospective customers’ current needs.
When people search the internet for answers to their questions, they’ll glance at the list of results that their preferred search engine gives them.
Whichever site most appears to most closely match their needs is the one they’ll click on to visit. If your blog article, eBook, video, etc. seems pertinent to their issue, they won’t hesitate to choose yours!
When you make your content engaging and useful, you increase your chances of keeping site visitors on the page for longer periods. This means that they’ll also likely get to know your business better and possibly take a look at the products that you have for sale.
4. Potential customers benefit from your content
If you’ve done your research ahead of creating content for your brand, the content that your audience finds will hopefully resonate with them and answer their questions.
An article or video that shows them how to accomplish a particular task or learn a new skill, for example, can make them view your content as being valuable.
Interesting, informative content can help consumers feel more confident and knowledgeable. The more high-quality content that you post, the greater the trust your audience will have in your brand.
For this reason, your content marketing strategy should not only include creating valuable content but doing so on a regular basis.
As mentioned in the previous point, sharing engaging content encourages visitors to stay on the page longer, which can give them a better understanding of your business.
However, longer page-viewing times can also aid in boosting your SEO. This can then allow your site to rank higher and attract additional visitors!
5. Content appreciation leads to conversions and product sales
If your audience perceives your content as being beneficial, they’re more likely to follow any CTAs that you’ve added. These CTAs might include directing people to head to a particular page of your website to learn more about your product or your business.
Note that these site visitors may not become paying customers immediately. Some people are going to need a little more time to determine if your product is the right fit for their needs.
That’s okay, though!
Your content has at least planted a seed in their minds that your store is worth checking out.
By continuing to post useful content, you build not only brand awareness but also brand authority. Your audience will start to see your business as a market leader!
When shoppers are ready to purchase a product like yours, they’ll want to buy from a brand that they trust. Consistent, high-quality content marketing demonstrates that you see the members of your audience as more than dollar signs.
This can then give them that extra push to pay a visit to your site and add your products to their shopping carts.
What are the skills needed to make content marketing work for your online store?
Whether you’re managing your brand’s content marketing yourself or hiring somebody to do it for you, there are certain competences required to achieve optimal results. If you’ve only recently launched your store, you might be juggling everything on your own for a little while.
Here are some of the skills that you’ll want to have as you begin to immerse yourself in developing a content marketing strategy for your business.
Expertise in the content’s topic
Because one of the major aims of content marketing is to share valuable, helpful information with your audience, you need to know what you’re talking about.
If readers begin to lose trust in your brand due to your content containing incorrect details, it can take some time for you to build that trust back up again.
Don’t worry if you don’t know everything about the subject matter for a piece of content that you want to create. Most marketers need to do some research beforehand and use multiple sources to craft content that’s engaging and educational for their target customers.
In addition, you’ll need to be able to determine what topics are most relevant to your audience. This involves being able to research market trends and what challenges consumers are currently facing.
Thorough understanding of branding
The voice and personality of your brand may be nearly identical to your own, but they could also be quite different. Either way is completely fine, but it’s essential that you have a good grasp of how you want the branding for your business to look.
In content marketing, consistency is key. While the type of content that you post can vary across different channels, you want to ensure that your messages have a similar tone.
A consistent tone in branding can help your audience to better connect with your business. Today’s shoppers often prefer to purchase from brands whose messages they resonate with.
When you understand the voice and personality in your brand, you’ll be able to more easily create tailored content for your potential customers.
Knowledge of SEO
It’s true that understanding all the ins and outs of SEO can take a while. Nevertheless, having a basic idea of how SEO works can assist in improving your content marketing efforts.
By performing keyword research and utilizing related tools and technology, you can make your content easier for your target market to find on the web.
Following all the best practices for SEO can boost your chances of getting your website to rank higher in search results. This in turn can get more traffic to your store and increase conversions.
Remember that besides incorporating relevant keywords, sharing fresh content, and including the optimal word count for your content, there are technical aspects of SEO to consider as well.
Not to worry when you use the WiziShop online store builder for your ecommerce business, though!
We manage all the technical facets of your website’s SEO for you. This includes, among other things, making sure that all of your images are optimized and that your site loads quickly and is secure.
Ability to use analytics
As you develop your content marketing strategy, you’ll soon discover that it’s going to be an ever-evolving process. What works for your business today may not provide great results next month.
For this reason, you’ll need to be able to understand and use various analytical tools to see if a particular content marketing campaign is doing well. This can also help you to determine how you’ll have to adapt your strategy going forward.
Whenever you launch a new campaign involving your content marketing, you’ll want to track and monitor it carefully. By doing so, you’ll be able to obtain valuable insights into if that content’s providing your business with optimal results.
Competence in content production
High-quality content is made up of a variety of elements. Depending on the type of content you’re planning on sharing, you might need to incorporate video, images, text, actors, graphic design, and more.
You’ll need to be able to create content that’s creative, thought-provoking, and informative to engage your intended audience. However, you’ll also need to be organized and have good time-management skills to produce content on a consistent and timely basis.
This can understandably be a little overwhelming for newbies in content marketing. If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to just begin with a couple of types of content.
Then, as your business grows and you get more confident with your strategy, you can gradually add in other forms to reach even more consumers!
What are the types of content you should use in ecommerce?
When it comes to content marketing, you’ll have a ton of flexibility at your disposal. Which types of content you decide to use in your strategy will depend on the particular needs of your target market.
This is where your researching skills are going to come in handy!
Before you put in the time and effort to create a piece of content, determine what topics and forms of content are most relevant to your audience.
If you need a bit of inspiration, be sure to check out our article on excellent examples of content marketing used by various brands.
The following section includes several types of content that tend to do well for ecommerce businesses.
After you conduct research to learn which keywords, trends, and subjects are most important to your audience, you can combine that with your expertise to write articles for your blog.
A well-written article can be very effective at capturing the attention of consumers and garnering more site traffic. Boost the effectiveness of your blog articles by adding a strong call-to-action (CTA) and internal links to encourage readers to learn more!
If you’ve got a complex idea or process that you’d like to explain to your audience, infographics are the perfect way to convey that information.
They often include visually interesting illustrations or graphic design to make the content more enjoyable and easier to process for the reader. In addition, infographics are super easy to circulate on social media or add to an article that you’ve prepared.
Increase your brand authority and aid your audience in the process by creating an in-depth eBook. Longer than a blog article, an eBook allows you to go into more detail about a specific topic that’s relevant to your target market.
If your eBook looks particularly intriguing, it can even be an excellent method for obtaining leads. Offer access to your eBook to site visitors who provide their email address to bolster your email marketing list!
Due to their high engagement levels, videos are a popular way for brands to communicate messages. Although they can take a little more time to produce than other types of content, Smart Insights reports that videos embedded on websites can help boost conversion rates by 80%.
Feel free to experiment with different formats, as both animation and live action videos may appeal to your audience.
When you think about content marketing, it’s often easy to forget about what may arguably be the most important content: what you’ve got written on your website!
Though you want to ensure that you have a high-quality homepage, you’ll also want to create landing pages that discuss special offers or particular topics.
When visitors “land” on these pages via a Google search or otherwise, the informative content you provide may assist in converting them into customers.
There’s no denying the immense power that social media can weld with today’s consumers. Statista notes that as of January 2021, the number of active social media users around the world reached 4.2 billion!
Social media is particularly important for content marketing. While it provides additional channels to distribute content, it’s also a form of content itself.
There are a number of social media networks to choose from, but your ecommerce business doesn’t need to have a presence on every single one.
To maximize the results for your content marketing strategy, be sure to research what platforms your target market is most likely to use. In addition, including user-generated content on your social media channels is a great way to boost audience engagement!
Share your industry expertise with your audience in a live-video format to increase interest in your online store. Webinars are a popular form of content in ecommerce, as people like seeing a human behind the brand.
Besides providing you with a platform to present your knowledge on a topic, webinars allow you to show off a bit of your personality too!
With this type of content, you’ll want to be sure that you know your topic very well so that you can be on top of your game when you film the webinar.
Now that you know a bit more about how content marketing works, you can create a strategy that’s tailored to fit the unique needs of your business.
By combining thoughtful research, flexibility, and creativity, you’ll be able to get the highest return on investment with your content marketing efforts!