This is a guest post by Olga Rabo from Berlin, Germany and Olga shares her tips on Content Marketing for E-Commerce players. Take a few notes, we know a ton of you people are interested in this topic!
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Over to Olga!
Content Marketing For E-Commerce: A Stepwise Guide For Beginners
Once upon a time, a girl named Amy stumbled upon an online fashion brand. The brand was selling clothes — they looked nice. So even though Amy had never heard anything about the brand and didn’t know anything about its dresses, she put the garment in the shopping basket and clicked “buy now”.
As romantic as this sounds, this story has nothing to do with the severe reality of the modern e-commerce world. Let’s face it, consumer behavior has changed dramatically over the last few decades. If previously Amy would beam with joy to see a business go online, now, with around 12-24 million of online stores worldwide, the choice is so overwhelming that it takes a bit more to attract Amy’s attention and drive her down the purchase funnel.
So what exactly does it take to succeed in e-commerce?
The answer lies in content marketing (aka the only marketing that’s left). It is an essential ingredient that differentiates your online brand from a crowd of clones, results in 55% higher website traffic, and 97% more inbound links. Not too shabby, right?
But before you get excited about content marketing and all the benefits that it brings, first make sure that you’ve carefully developed a step-by-step strategy. Here are some steps I am illustrating that will go a long way in helping you!
Step #1: Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
By setting the right goals, you’re already halfway to success. However, according to The Content Marketing Institute, only 44% of B2B and 43% of B2C marketers can envision what content marketing success actually looks like. Don’t go down this slippery road — decide in advance exactly what you want to achieve with content marketing. Is it higher website traffic? An astounding level of social shares? Or, maybe, boosted revenues?
Whatever it is, make sure you have a S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting strategy. Here’s an illustration of what I’m talking about:
Step #2: Define your content persona
Peter Drucker, the famous business visionary from the U.S., once said:
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well [that] the product or service fits him and sells itself”.
This idea should be a fundamental core of your whole content marketing strategy. If you know your reader well, good things will come. So define the target audience for your content before you get into the content production stage (more on that later). Take a look at your customer database — your customers are your potential readers, after all — and ask yourself: who is this person? What are her interests? Her hobbies? And even her job?
This is a so-called reader-centric approach to content marketing: first, understand the actual needs of your potential reader, and then, work hard on delivering relevant content.
Step #3: Identify between content types, forms and topics
Identifying the audience for your future content will highly influence the type of content that you’ll be producing. In general, there are two main types of content that you can consider: textual and visual. Nowadays, however, it’s better to use a combination of two:
“When people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information 3 days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information 3 days later.” — John Medina, the human brain scientist.
Both of these content types also have their specific forms. For texts, a form can be a guide, a product review, an interview, etc. When it comes to visual types, then we’re talking about videos, photos, infographics, and all other forms of illustration. This is the point when you’ll have to decide which approach you want to take with content: which key forms of content you’ll choose, and the topics you will cover within these forms.
An important thing to remember is that there are an endless number of topics, limited amount of content forms, and just two content types to choose from. So when it finally comes to content creation, make sure to experiment often enough not to appear boring!
Step #4: Set up a killer distribution platform
Last but not least comes the distribution platform where you’ll be planting your content and watching it grow. B2C companies usually face a choice between setting up their own platform (such as a blog or a digital magazine) or leveraging the power of social media.
My advice: choose both!
Having your own channel will allow you to create a stronger brand identity, and will also provide you with the chance to convert website traffic into leads (i.e. potential customers), and then draw those leads down into the purchasing funnel (that’s where shoppable content comes in handy, by the way.)
At the same time, using social media channels (such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) will give you an opportunity to get your content noticed and hopefully, make it go viral.
Step #5: And tell your stories!
So, remember Amy? The girl who was into online shopping? The point is, the Amy of the 21st century doesn’t really want to shop for clothes — she wants to shop for experiences. She wants to browse through pieces of content as if they’re dresses hanging on the clothing rail. And you, an online store owner — you need to make sure that every ‘dress’ makes up a beautiful collection that speaks to Amy on an emotional level. Because after all, as Seth Godin insightfully pointed out, it’s not goods and services that people want to buy: It’s relations, stories and magic. And that’s what content marketing is really all about.
Thank you for your insights Olga! And if you’re interesting in sending us a guest post, don’t hesitate to see the guidelines here.
About Guest Author: Olga is a content marketing and community manager at Styla, a leading content commerce solution and recently published a full guide on Content Marketing for e-Commerce. Olga passionate about digital storytelling and shoppable content, and whenever she has a spare minute, she also travels and blogs. Follow her on LinkedIn here!
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