A Guide to Content Marketing for eCommerce Brands

Every eCommerce business has to overcome the same hurdle: how can you convince your potential customers that your online store belongs to a legitimate and trustworthy brand?

Content marketing doesn’t only show your customers that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about your industry, it shows that you’re helpful - and helpful brands are trustworthy brands.

Plan your content strategy

Unless you’re blessed with bouts of inspiration for relevant and engaging content ideas, you’ll probably find that you can’t create successful content without planning it first.

Make a content calendar

Putting together a calendar of key dates to base your content strategy around can prove very helpful in ensuring that your content is relevant for the time of year, and that you’re not forgetting any important topics.

Make note of any sector specific events you may be going to, regardless of whether this is a retailing conference, or a trade show. Keeping track of when an event is happening and promoting it to your followers will tell your customers that you are interested and involved in your sector, and will act as a reminder that you are a legitimate brand that your customers can safely shop with.

Content Calendar

However, make sure you don’t just make note of events. Seasonal events often seem so obvious that they’re left out when it comes to content planning. You operate in eCommerce so you’ll never forget about Christmas, or even Father’s Day, but when you’re preparing for seasonal shoppers and a shift in order volume, you can very easily forget that you still haven’t written that gift guide - so make sure you include all of the ‘obvious’ events in your content calendar!

Be flexible and responsive

Whilst you’ll have your content calendar all planned out, this probably won’t be enough to make up your content for the whole year. Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for any industry news or current events that you can comment upon.

Whether this is a major announcement from one of your suppliers or an emerging fashion trend, staying up to date on what’s happening in the world around you will prevent your website from becoming stale and will keep your customers engaged.

Identify who your audience is

In order to implement a content marketing strategy that appeals to and attracts your ideal customers, you need to know who they are. From their age and their interests, to what motivates them and what their pain points are, you need to gain as much information about your customers as you can. You need to know that you’re not just writing about content that you care about - your customers need to care about it too.

You might not think of it immediately, but your content marketing can also benefit from conducting research into how your customers speak. You might have all your content topics planned out perfectly, but if you’re not using the language that your audience use, then they won’t be able to find your content even when they’re searching for it.

Decide which forms of content you'll product

When you think of content marketing, you might just think of blog posts, but it can be much broader than this if you want it to be.

Of course, blog posts always have their place, and for a comment piece or a longer, detailed guide, they can be the most appropriate forms of content. However, depending on the topics you’re talking about, you might want to branch out into different forms of media.

If you want to show your customers how to use one of your products, then producing video tutorials can be the most effective way to do this. Sometimes, a written step by step guide can feel tedious, and can result in the reader being even more confused than they were to begin with, whereas watching someone do what they’re trying to learn can be much more helpful.

An example of using video tutorials as part of a successful content marketing strategy is the video below from clip in hair extension retailer, Luxy Hair, who produce YouTube videos to show their audience how to create different popular hair styles.

No matter the form of content you produce, remember that if you are talking about your products, show them off! Using high quality, eye catching imagery doesn’t just make your content much more visually appealing and engaging - it shows your customers exactly what they’d be getting. When it comes to your products, don’t leave anything to the imagination.

Use content to improve customer experience

Different customers will find you at different stages of the sales cycle - some might be ready to buy there and then, while others will only be beginning their research. You want to ensure that you’re producing content that helps your customers, no matter how far along their journey they are.

One way to capture the interest of your customers and engage them, while improving their customer experience, is to create a quiz that results in a personalised shopping experience. For example, furniture retailer, Z Gallerie, use a quiz to tell customers what their ‘style personality’ is by asking a series of questions about their favourite colour palettes, furniture styles and what their dream home looks like.

Z Gallerie

By creating a set of ‘style personalities’, Z Gallerie are then able to deliver a seemingly personalised selection of products that fit your style - therefore streamlining the journey customers would need to take around their site.

Z Gallerie

Be helpful

Always keep in mind, when creating content, that your customers don’t read your blogs or watch your videos to be sold to. Content marketing is your opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and position yourself as a brand that cares about its customers. If your content makes your customers feel like they know the individuals behind the brand, you’ve succeeded.

Not everything you publish should be explicitly about your products - your brand can benefit hugely by simply being helpful. Give useful tips and pieces of advice that relate to your company, but aren’t directly about you - make it about your audience.

If you own a camping gear and outdoor clothing store, talk about a top 10 list of camping necessities, the best destinations for hiking trips, or even what to take with you in case of an emergency. If you sell pet food, bedding and equipment, give training tips, the best way to groom different pets, or a list of the best dog-friendly restaurants in the area. Identify what your audience want to learn about, and teach them.

Promote your content

Once you’ve published a piece of content, shout about it! You could have the best content in your industry, but if no one knows about it, you’re not going to see results.

Take full advantage of your other platforms by using them to promote your content. Promoting your content on social through Facebook boosting, or by using relevant hashtags, will allow you to target your key audiences, and ensure that your content reaches the people who will care about it the most.

If you have an existing list of customer email addresses that you can use in your marketing, this is also valuable in promoting your content. Whilst you might not want to promote every piece of content you create by email, if you have any key pieces that you really want to give that extra push , then sending out an email to your subscribers can be a great way to do this.

In summary

If you want to implement a successful content marketing strategy, you need to have your customers’ wants and needs in the forefront of your mind. The more helpful you are, the more valuable your content will be - and the more highly you will be regarded by your customers.

If you’d like any tips on identifying the best content topics for your audience, or how content marketing can benefit your business, tweet us @Statement or get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help.

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