How to Grow Your E-Commerce Business with Content MarketingEric Merlin
The definition of success is different for every e-commerce business but the main ideas are the same: boosting sales and growing. Each business has its ‘weak spot’, that is, something that can be improved in such a manner so that it has a major influence on the overall operations of that business.
For some it may be adapting the present offer, improving the website’s functionality, while others might need to reassess their approach to marketing.
When it comes to marketing, some businesses are in general reluctant to invest in it because they are used to investing in materials, products, and other tangible items.
But what e-commerce business owners know is that without a proper marketing campaign, people simply won’t get a chance to see those products – this is why each business needs to work more on its marketing strategies.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing method of using content to attract your target audience. However, the trick with content marketing is not to expose your audience to just anything – despite many businesses believing that quantity out-trumps quality – but for that content to be valuable. And what does ‘valuable’ means in terms of content marketing?
The content has to be valuable to your audience since they are the ones who need to like it enough to visit your website, browse through your offer, and in the end, purchase an item or decide to use your services.
However, since it needs to stem from your business, it’s the perfect medium for sharing your brand’s values and motivating potential customers to become loyal ones. So, the first step you need to take when concocting a content marketing strategy is to turn to people whose needs you will cater: your audience.
Get to know your audience
To learn just how to approach your (potential) customers, you need to learn as much as you can about them. For starters, forget about your assumptions about who your audience it and concentrate on what you know for sure.
Facts are gathered by accumulating data on your customers, and software tools, such as Google Analytics, can be of much help regarding establishing the gender, age, and location of the majority of your customers.
When you know who the majority is, you will be able to fine-tune your content so it would be more appealing to them without turning away or potentially insulting the rest. The next things you need to learn are their likes and dislikes, things most of them feel strongly about, whether in a positive or negative context.
Another useful piece of information would be their preferred channel of communication, such as whether the majority of your potential customers are on Instagram or they stick to e-mails.
Create original content
Creating truly captivating content demands three ingredients: bottled essence of your e-commerce business, knowing your audience’s needs, and – originality. This last ingredient is very sought after especially since many people believe that human creativity has reached its limits and that all new ideas are just an adapted version of something existent.
However, the internet has given us the opportunity to connect with people all over the world and seek inspiration anywhere, unlocking a door in creativity that we didn’t know even existed.
Having in mind so many resources that are available, tingling the senses of your audience with something new and unseen before is not an impossible mission but it is one that takes time and effort.
But if you do it right, your original piece of content will be remembered by many people throughout the years, just like old Coca-Cola or Old spice commercials and you will become the inspiration other businesses would turn towards.
Choose the appropriate formats and channels
Once you know what interests your audience, it is time to make a decision about what would be the best way to present it and via which channel. One of the first mediums to consider is a blog if your website doesn’t have it already.
Blog posts are excellent channels for establishing your brand as an expert in your particular industry and by offering some free pieces of advice, you actually gain more paying customers.
Another effective strategy is making an interactive app: for instance, the Sephora Virtual Artist app has enchanted many makeup lovers and boosted Sephora’s sales significantly. People just love the opportunity to see how they look like with makeup on before purchasing it.
So, you may try something similar, depending on your industry and your budget. Having in mind how much time we all spend on our smartphones, an app is a great manner to reach your audience without seeming overly aggressive.
Observe the SEO side of things
Regardless of whether you are a small Tokyo-based e-commerce business selling handmade soaps or a food manufacturer from Dallas, quality products or services are not enough to attract customers. It’s not enough to just post content you think would be interesting – your online presence strategy has to be much more sophisticated than that.
For your audience to notice you, you have to be one of the first results on Google’s search page because the truth is told, you yourself rarely go to the second page of the results so it is safe to assume that your audience will behave the same.
Your high-quality content needs to be gingerly peppered with the right keywords so the professional services of a Dallas SEO company or another city you are based in could be just what your business needs. An external team of experts can assess the situation objectively and tailor a strategy that fits your needs.
Make sure your efforts result in sales
SEO strategies are a well-known booster of sales due to the sheer fact they make your content more visible in an unobtrusive manner. However, there are other things you can do to make sure your content gets the attention it deserves.
To begin with, you need to ensure your website’s loading speed is up to par since no matter how interesting your content may be, most customers won’t have the patience for your slow website to load.
Also, your abandoned carts are not something to be ignored since sometimes those visitors simply need a small nudge, something cleared up to become your customers. So, don’t hesitate to contact them via email, for instance, and give them an opportunity to ask additional questions if they have them.
However, if they don’t respond to your first attempt to establish communication, it is best not to keep insisting because that may create a negative impression about your e-commerce business.
Research your competition
Although original content is what your customers will value the most, to gain a competitive advantage and to be one of the best in your industry, you need to know what you are up against. You need to analyze how your competition does things, including their preferred channels of communication and their sales. Once you learn that, you can have an insight into what works for them and what your e-commerce business needs to surpass.
In addition to that, a field you can learn plenty from are the mistakes of your competitors. You can find out more about them from the comments posted on their social media profiles, as well as specific websites that are dedicated to reviews of different businesses, their offers, and their relationship with the customers.
This is also where you can find the impressions of your customers towards your business and in general, it can give you ideas about what things you can incorporate into your content so that it is more effective.
Keep it constantly fresh
This might sound like a difficult mode of operation to follow but you need to strive to keep your content fresh and interesting. Of course, no one expects you to come up with extraordinary ideas every other week and amaze people on a daily basis but no business can allow itself not to shake things up every now and then.
This is because in this digital era if you aren’t putting yourself out there, you might as well not exist.
One neat method you can use is to recycle old content and even though this might sound like the opposite of originality, sometimes giving old content new forms can make people see it with different eyes.
Take infographic, for example, they’ve won over hearts of many people with their simple yet effective composition and in your case, you can turn a boring instruction into a vivid infographic lesson that would be shared via social media. Also, for content that might be too long for a blog post, you may consider making a short video, especially heaving in mind people’s attraction towards visual content.
Focusing your efforts on a content marketing strategy is not a waste of money and time as the benefits are manifold. During this process, you will learn more about your business and your audience and decide on how you prefer to be seen. You will also be motivated to improve other elements of your business, such as your website’s speed, etc.
If you also put some SEO experts on your content, you will ensure that you are seen exactly in the manner you wish to be observed and by precisely the people you want to be seen. Working on content marketing will result in many benefits, among which a boost in sales is perhaps the most prominent one.
AUTHOR BIO: Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.