Content marketing has become a major focus for retail brands seeking to generate greater awareness of their business and increase online sales. It has quickly become one of the most popular types of online marketing, and if done well, can add real value to your business.
But what exactly is it? Quite simply, it's creating information (content) that is published online. The great thing about content is that it won't only generate sales; it will also help you to retain your customers. If you offer regular, accessible and interesting content then your customers will be encouraged to return to you for helpful advice, tips, news and trends as well as purchases.
By incorporating content into your marketing strategy you can quickly turn occasional shoppers into loyal brand advocates
Why is content so good?
One of the main reasons content marketing has become so widely adopted is because it's viral. If you write a brilliant piece of content then you don't just have the potential to engage your direct customers; if they like it enough they will share it and pass it on to others, finding you future customers and increasing the awareness of your brand. Content marketing is able to naturally infiltrate the web, and because it's shared, it can have a much wider reach than direct campaigns.
It drives traffic
If you are looking to increase your online sales then one of the things you need to do is get more people to visit your online store. Content is a fantastic way of building links to your site and increasing your ranking in search results. For example, Forrester has reported that a brand is over 50 times more likely to come up in a search if it has links to a video. Plus, the awareness your content creates isn't limited by a timeframe. Our Metakinetic company site receives just as many visits via blog posts from 12 months ago as it does for ones posted more recently, so content can be a great investment if you are looking to boost the long-term flow of traffic to your site.
It will build trust in your brand
Customers aren't just swayed by a good product; they also look for an authentic brand. Content can be used to position your brand as a voice of authority within your industry, and this will help build customer confidence in your company. By sharing your knowledge and tips you'll give your customers a reason to trust you and they'll be more inclined to spend their money with your brand than one of your competitors.
It can support the buying process
Content can also be created to help support the different stages of the buying process. For example, blogs and industry news work extremely well to generate brand awareness and create traffic, whereas FAQs and step-by-step guides have the ability to influence purchase decisions. Consider what you want to achieve i.e. higher conversion rates, and then plan your content topics around this goal.
Tailor your content to your customer
To increase your sales you need to create content that will be of interest of your customer, so it's really important to understand exactly who they are! Research exactly where your customers hang out online. Do they regularly share things on Facebook, or are they members of a craft forum? Pay close attention to the kinds of content they are sharing – do they prefer blog posts or video tutorials, and what subjects work best? Once you have nailed the type of social content that works you can move on to planning your topic.
• Videos Sharing video tutorials and mini projects will not only get your customers involved in the activity but they're a great way to secure sales. You could add a shopping list to the end of the video including all of the products needed to recreate the project, with a direct link to a dedicated page on your site where they can all be easily added to a shopping basket.
• Blog Posts Running a blog will allow you to publish similar 'How to?' posts to talk customers through exciting craft projects that are on-trend, and stimulate purchases in the process. You could even have different types of projects running throughout the week to encourage your customers to check regularly i.e. fashion projects posted on a Monday and homeware crafts on a Thursday.
• Social Media Remember to use all of your social media accounts to get the most from your content - share the videos and blogs you are making and encourage feedback from your customers. The best content marketing is the kind that also incorporates User Generated Content (UGC) so try to get your customers to upload their versions of the projects you have shared and reward the best ones. Having an active Pinterest presence will help stamp your brand identity on your industry, as well as providing regular inspiration for your followers.
Three top tips for creating great content
Make it shareable
The most successful and engaging content is the kind that involves the audience and asks for a response back. Try to come up with content that will genuinely excite your customers and make them want to share it with all their friends.
Make it useful
You should never create content just for the sake of having content. People will only share things they think are great. Choose topics that address your customers' needs and passions so it will be worth their while to read, watch and share.
Make it relevant
For your content to be useful it needs to also be relevant. Incorporate specific events throughout the year and plan content to reflect these. You could begin with a series of craft projects to capitalise on topics like Back to School, Halloween and Christmas, as well as more general themes like summer or winter.
If you do want to increase your ecommerce sales then content marketing is an effective and fun way to encourage your customers to buy. You don't need to do all of the types of content covered here. Pick the ones that you find are most relevant to your customer base. But make sure that your posts are regular, engaging and interactive; this will ensure your efforts add real value to your online business.
Metakinetic is a full service ecommerce agency founded in 2005. Based in Wokingham, Berkshire, with a team of 18 specialists the company provides creative, technical and marketing services to a wide range of online retailers. Focusing on quality, support and delivering results, Metakinetic helps its clients increase ecommerce sales and reduce operational costs.
T: +44 (0)118 324 9000
Date Posted: 30 December 2013
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