Content is king, and it’s a driving force behind successful marketing approaches for retail businesses worldwide. Seventy-two percent of marketers say that content marketing increases engagement. It also generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing.
But as an online retail store, how do you use it to boost your profile and increase revenue? In this article, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about content marketing for merchants, from the different types of content to a better understanding of how this marketing method works. Join us for a deep dive into all things content.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of materials (typically online) that doesn’t promote a brand explicitly. Instead, it provides the reader or viewer with value, giving them in-depth information about topics within the relevant industry. In your case, it relates to the products and services you sell but focuses more on the value they offer rather than getting an outright sale. Content marketing is informational led, whereas direct advertising is sales-led.
How can merchants do content marketing?
You will need to find out what your audience wants before getting started with a content marketing strategy. The word “content” is far-reaching and can have many various meanings to different people.
Therefore, you’ll want to narrow down your ideas of content and provide insightful information that resonates with your target audience. Essentially, content marketing happens at the early stage of the funnel, with the primary goal to pique shoppers’ interest and get them thinking about your brand.
How do I provide content?
Let’s say you sell jewellery. In this scenario, you might decide to write an article about the latest trends in earrings and what’s currently popular. While the article doesn’t necessarily sell your products, it does provide potential shoppers with interesting information about trends, thus increasing your reputation as a trustworthy brand that wants to provide customers with insights about jewellery.
Such content shows that you’re a thought leader in your expertise, with your finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest trends. You’re not explicitly telling customers to buy their jewellery, but you show your expertise in the subject.
There are many different ways to do content marketing. These include:
Writing blog posts is a great way to show your knowledge. You can create posts for shoppers that provide value, giving them tips on everything from the latest trends to why your products are important. Blog posts also help with SEO, boosting your chances of appearing organically on search engines.
Social media is important for online retail stores, as it’s a place to have conversations with potential leads. You can also showcase your lighter side on social media, perhaps breaking away from the traditional brand tone of voice and displaying a more informal approach. Social media is also somewhere to promote content, drawing people back to your website in the process.
Once the de facto way to communicate with audiences, newsletters tailed off somewhat. However, they’re in demand again, as companies use them for more intimate methods of communication. Newsletters service people who have actively subscribed to your content, which means there’s already an interest in your products and what you have to say.
Newsletters are great if you already have an audience. But in order to build that list, you’ll need to get subscribers. One way to grow your subscriber base involves creating downloadable assets. These often come in the form of an ebook or white paper and require email addresses from readers if they want to download your material.
Videos on platforms like YouTube are proving to be an excellent way to connect with audiences. Easily digestible videos offer you a chance to build trust and provide an engaging way to showcase your industry expertise, as well as product information. Use video to do live examples of product uses and host Q&As with your audience.
Should you create a content strategy?
It can be easy to get lost in all the opportunities from content marketing. That’s why it’s worth creating a strategy so that you can narrow your focus to specific aspects. Perhaps you’ll start with a blog strategy, slowly incorporating other elements like video and downloadable content. Put a calendar in place, looking at when you would like to post content and how frequently. Stick to it, and you should start to see results.
Content is king
Content marketing is a savvy – and inexpensive – way to showcase your industry expertise. However, it requires time and patience; don’t expect to put out a piece of content and get high levels of traction overnight. When done right, however, and with time, content marketing can be a vital lead generation method for your online store and increase the number of shoppers buying products and services.