content marketing

It’s now easier than ever to launch an online store. While it’s great that budding entrepreneurs have a path to opening their own businesses, this also means increasing the competition. All of this choice means that consumers have more power than ever. They can choose to shop the brands who provide them with the best experiences.

The hard sell is dead. It’s been replaced with solid content marketing strategies that focus on providing customers with exactly what they need at every point in the customer journey. If you want your e-commerce business to thrive, this is something you must embrace. To get started, here are seven steps to build your e-commerce content marketing strategy.

Understand The Sales Funnel

The sales funnel is a visual representation of each stage of the buying process. Customers at the top of the funnel are in the exploration stage. They may be conducting some casual searches on different products or services. A customer at this stage is likely just becoming aware of your brand. Customers in the middle of the sales funnel are a bit closer to making a purchasing decision. At this stage, they might be comparing your brand to others, and looking at various product offerings. Finally, the customers at the bottom of the funnel are making their final decisions. They’re comparing prices, learning product details, and engaging with your brand more directly.

Customers at different stages of the sales funnel have different needs. Creating a successful content marketing strategy means producing content that is relevant for every customer no matter where they are in the buying process. Here are some examples:

  • A blog post reflecting your company’s commitment to environmentally friendly products might resonate with top funnel customers who want to know your values before deciding whether or not they want to explore your products and services.
  • A product demonstration video will appeal to customers in the middle of the funnel who are interested in learning more about the products that are relevant to them.
  • A customer at the bottom of the funnel might be interested in reading a case study detailing how one of your household cleaning products have made life easier for your customers.

Learn What Matters to Your Audience

Knowing your audience is key to building a successful marketing plan. This goes for your content marketing efforts as well. Remember that this process is all about meeting needs, and providing a great experience. You can’t simply create and share good content. It has to be content that meets the needs of your audience. To do this, you have to understand what’s important to them. This means conducting research.

No, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars using a market research firm. Instead, try these techniques.

  • Mine your customer support tickets. These will be full of comments, questions, concerns, and suggestions that you can address in your content.
  • Find discussion groups and forums related to the products you sell. Learn what customers are discussing.
  • Search Buzz Sumo, Google, and other platforms for keywords that are related to your business to see what content is trending.
  • Pay attention to your engagement metrics. The content that is getting the most shares, comments, and likes is the content your audience values the most.

Choose Your Platforms and Go All In

You have plenty of choices when it comes to publishing and sharing your content. You can create accounts on a variety of social media platforms, publish articles and other content to websites like Medium or HuffPost, or host your content on a blog that you own.

In fact, there are so many options, it’s very easy to spread yourself thin. Rather than attempting to be everywhere, choose the social media platforms that will get you the best results. For example, if you sell a very attractive physical product and want to focus on visual content, you might consider focusing heavily on Instagram where you can use features like shoppable pictures.

Pay attention to the details of each platform. What kind of audience does the platform you’re considering attract? Is it a good fit for your brand? Will you get the engagement you need for good ROI?

Discover Your Content Options and Pick What You Can do Best

The foundation of content marketing is, of course, content. When it comes to deciding what kind of content you’re going to produce, the sheer number of options you have can be overwhelming. Just take a look at this very limited list of choices you have:

  • Live Video
  • Blog Posts
  • Recorded and Edited Video
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • Social Media Quizzes

Video content and content with plenty of visuals tend to earn the most attention. However, that shouldn’t be your only consideration. The best content for your brand will always be the content that you can do best. For example, video content is great, but not so much if your budget only allows you to produce low-quality videos with poor production values. Instead, you might be better off creating great blog posts and adding great visuals to those.

Use Tools and Services to Make Content Marketing Easier

It can take a lot of time, resources, and effort to create, publish, and promote quality content. Doing that on top of all of the other tasks required to run your online shop can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of tools to help.

For example, there are visual content tools such as Canva, online editing services reviews for sourcing writing services, social media analytics tools, and tools that automate content publishing and promotion.

Don’t Forget Content Curation

Take a look at the social media feeds of companies that are using content marketing to great success.  You’ll notice that most of them aren’t just sharing the content they create. They’re also curating content from other sources. You can find great content to share with your followers by subscribing to headline aggregators, following influencers, and subscribing to social media accounts that are of interest to your audience. Then, share the content you think will interest your target on your own social media pages.

Use but Don’t Abuse Keyword and SEO Strategies

SEO is the practice of ensuring that your social media pages and website receive top ranking in search engine results. This is done by optimizing your website and social media pages and using the relevant keywords in the content you create. There are several SEO strategies that you can use to help these efforts.

Just remember that SEO and keyword strategies should supplement your content. They won’t make up for poorly-written content, or a lack of appropriate promotion. Focus on that first, and then us

Parting Thoughts

Content marketing is the perfect way to reach your audience, and drive traffic to your e-commerce store. By using the techniques here, you can get the start you need to develop a strategy that works for your brand.