E-commerce websites no longer just focus on selling; oversaturated markets have increased the need to enrich the overall online buying experience for online shoppers. This means finding ways to keep them engaged through all the steps of the buyer’s journey and ensuring there are no roadblocks along the way.
One of the most effective ways to clear the path for your target customers is through content marketing. It is especially useful for increasing brand awareness, building relationships with current and potential customers, and boosting sales.
What is content marketing?
As opposed to traditional advertisements that focus on promotional messaging, content marketing prioritizes informational materials that intend to generate brand awareness, build trust, and stimulate interest in your business.
To put it simply, online content converts your promotional messages into a context that’s relevant to your audience. It engages target customers by addressing their problems and providing an option to resolve it using your products or services. These typically come in the form of blog posts, podcasts, visual content, and social media posts.
Content marketing helps your business by:
- Improving SEO performance, meaning your e-commerce site has a higher chance of being seen when someone searches a relevant keyword
- Showing you are an authority on the subject and are therefore a trusted provider
- Building a relationship with your audience and increasing chances of conversion
Here are some strategies you can use this year to support your digital marketing campaigns.
Video content has quickly become a critical aspect of digital marketing, with no indication of slowing down anytime soon. Cisco has predicted that internet video traffic will make up 82% of the global consumer internet traffic by 2022, compared to the 73% in 2017.
Videos are easy to consume and are a quick way to captivate potential customers despite their fleeting attention span. Below are some types of marketing videos that have proven to be effective:
- Educational/how-to videos – These types of videos aim to attract and educate an audience about particular problems they may be having or topics they are interested in. When done right, it sends the message that you understand your customers’ problems and that you are a credible source for the solution.
- Explainer videos – Powerful storytelling and great visuals are a great way to start a conversation about the product or service you’re offering. Explaining how your product or service works can strengthen a buyer’s confidence in purchasing from you.
- Customer testimonials – Feature past or current customers sharing their positive experiences with your company, product, or service. This needs to be authentic, as the audience can always tell if the featured customer is authentic or a paid actor. Interviewing real customers may also reveal positive aspects that you might not have realized!
Video content is incredibly popular but creating them is also time-consuming and often costly to make. There’s also a ton of platforms to choose from, including Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and even Tiktok. It’s crucial to find out where and what types of videos your audience watches before investing any time and effort in creating videos.
Curate User Generated Content (UGC)
According to a survey by Bizrate in 2021, 91% of respondents say that they read at least one review before deciding to purchase a product or service.
Pushy sales tactics are no longer very effective, and people are more willing to trust other customers than a marketer. Showing social proof is a powerful way to encourage customers to take the leap in trusting your business and making a purchase.
In order to leverage authentic customer reviews, you must first find ways to generate them. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Send a post-purchase email to thank customers for their business and to encourage them to leave a review after a purchase
- Create an evergreen branded hashtag (one you can use for the foreseeable future and not just for a single campaign) and encourage customers to use it
- Post UGC on your official social media accounts – not only does it make your brand more authentic, it could also encourage customers to send in photos (or use your hashtag) just to be featured in your feed
- Host a contest where you ask customers to submit photos or videos of them using your product for the chance to win prizes
Build a Pillar Page and Topic Clusters
Did you know that it’s no longer enough to publish tons of blog posts and hit targeted keywords to rise through the SEO ranks?
A more effective SEO strategy is to utilize topic clusters, which is a group of interlinked web pages that focuses on topics instead of keywords. These are anchored by a central pillar page, the main piece of content that links to related but narrower-focused blog pages. Each subtopic should link back to the pillar page and to each other, but never to a page that is irrelevant to the topic.
Topic clusters create the ideal site structure for SEO. It will help search engines see you as an industry expert, improve your ranking, and ultimately drive more traffic to your ecommerce site.
Pillar pages should provide most if not all the answers that your audience is looking for, making it valuable to them. Delivering content that is relevant to your audience strengthens your relationship with them and can eventually foster brand loyalty.
The content you worked so hard on to create won’t fulfil its purpose if no one sees it. Once your content has been published, the next step is to ensure that it reaches your target audience.
Content amplification is a technique to help improve your reach. Best practices include:
- Repurposing the content, publishing it to your social media platforms, and linking back to the original content
- Setting up an email newsletter and sending content highlights to your audience
- Running paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Tiktok
The strategies above are effective for filling your pipeline with potential customers, but ecommerce content marketing is not easy. It requires consistent effort, continuous research, and production of a steady stream of content.
“Content is the voice of your brand, and it is therefore important to allocate the respect, investment, and focus it requires.” says James Keady, a digital marketing manager for McLaren Automotive.
“Creating great content is difficult, and delivering great content consistently through established processes is complex. However, this is what is required if you want to take your brand from good to great in today’s communication environment.”