Running an e-commerce site is a full-time job. You devote resources to selling your products, keeping your site updated, and gaining and maintaining your customer base. Content often falls to the bottom of the priority list, but we recommend you move it up the list.
Content marketing involves attracting and retaining customers without directly selling to them. Instead, you offer contextual, relevant, and intriguing information that customers find valuable. The goal is for those customers to reward your awesome content with a purchase – and eventually, they will. The Custom Content Council reported “61% of people feel better about a company that delivers custom content; they are also more likely to buy from that company.”
Engaging customers with relevant content enhances your brand interactions and builds loyalty to your company. In addition to keeping your customers coming back, content marketing attracts new customers. According to the HubSpot Marketing Benchmarks report “companies who increase blogging from 3-5x/month to 6-8x/month almost double their leads.” Content marketing should serve as the foundation for your marketing strategy, because it positively impacts social media, search engine optimization, public relations, pay-per-click, and outbound marketing. Get our 5 content marketing tips for e-commerce companies.
5 content marketing tips
1. Detailed unique product descriptions
Chances are, your customers can buy the same product elsewhere. So what’s the difference between your product and your competitor’s product? Your pitch.
Illustrate to visitors what makes your product worth buying. Get creative with naming conventions, descriptive with sample scenarios, and use humor to make a run-of-the-mill product seem exciting.
Here, the brand Method delivers an engaging pitch for dish soap. Method uses their description real estate to not only sell this specific soap, but to also talk up washing dishes, ecofriendly products, and easy to use dispensers; all topics that apply directly to the featured product. Each fragrance description is entertaining and unique.
By surrounding their product with relevant content, Method turns buying dish soap into a fun experience.
Use video to better illustrate your pitch. With the booming popularity of YouTube, Cisco predicts videos will account for 84% of all internet traffic in the next few years. Creating and integrating videos is so mainstream that professional expertise is unnecessary.
Blendtec has seen great success using videos in their content marketing. Rather than making a straightforward video advertising a blender, they’ve created an amusing video series called “Will it Blend?” The series shows different kinds of household items blended in the BlendTec blender. It’s so effective because the content is entertaining and worth watching, regardless of whether you’re shopping for a blender. This early video success grew sales 700% between 2006 and 2008. Visit www.willitblend.com to watch the series.
Photography shows different ways, places, and contexts your product can be used. Using photo-based social networks like Pinterest or Instagram is a great way to “show, not tell” your customers why they should purchase.
For example, J. Crew uses product photography to showcase an entire ensemble versus showing their clothes in a grid. This provides visitors a visual guide for how to a complete an outfit. Plus, by showing products in context, J. Crew creates great link bait for fashion bloggers and creates an upsell opportunity. Everyone wins.
A different spin on using photography is to feature user participation. Here, Starbucks shared an image posted by a customer of their drawing, but implies that the Starbucks drink helped the artist create the illustration.
Another example where Starbucks takes advantage of customer participation is by inviting customers to decorate their white cup, and submit their drawings online. This is a great way to get customers involved with a brand on social media.
4. Downloadable content
Free music, case studies, user guides, idea books, etc., all put your product in a tangible context and entice customers to interact with your brand. Kraft’s Philadelphia cream cheese prints recipes on their packaging that include their product in the ingredients list. On Kraft’s website, there are dozens of delicious looking recipes that call for Philadelphia cream cheese, while avoiding an outright marketing pitch.
Another great example of downloadable content is from the Land of Nod. Here, they showcase a decorative party prop, and then provide downloadable instructions for how to make it yourself at home. Content like this is unique because it extends beyond sitting in front of the computer by inviting customers to get hands-on.
Post valuable information on your blog to incentivize returning visitors. Once trust is established, your visitors are more likely to listen to what you have to say. Editor Jon Morrow is the author behind boostblogtraffic.com, a well-researched and witty series of articles that deconstruct many aspects of successful blogging, written in a universally understandable tone.
Blogs connect your visitors to your products on a different level. Write about the history of a product, a good background story, or an endearing anecdote. For example, say you own a clothing store, you could create a “back to school” buyers guide.
REI does a great job creating buying guides. “How to choose a bicycle,” for example, includes interactive quizzes and offers safety tips and informational videos. A shopper may start their research with the guide, and receive bike recommendations based on the customers’ persona. This strategy helps a customer feel confident that when they purchase a REI bike, they’re making a well-informed decision based on dependable information.
Your website is the face of your brand and the online store where customers purchase your products, but content marketing is your recruiter – seeking out, drawing in, and engaging customers in your product and your company as a whole. Carve out some time for content marketing and start seeing the positive results.