Content marketing can increase online sales manifolds, but doing so takes time and effort. That said, some companies have got it right. For example, Scotts Menswear did a great job by building a blog that talks about everything from films, sports, fashion and topics that the targeted demographic will be interested in. The company focuses on engaging the audience rather than selling directly. It uses occasional links to promote their brand. Consider the example below:

Customer engagement is crucial if you want to be a winner and Scotts hit the bull’s eye.

Businesses of any size can create a solid content strategy and engage customers in unique ways to increase sales and improve branding for their eCommerce business. In fact, you can increase the conversion rate by six times. The average conversion rate of websites with a content strategy is 2.9 percent compared to 0.5 percent for websites with no content strategy.

Some more benefits of investing in a solid content strategy are stated in the infographic below:

Now that you know it can be extremely lucrative, let’s explore how you can build a solid content strategy:

1. Leverage the Power of Videos

According to a report published by Syndacast, videos will account for 74 percent of all Internet traffic in 2017. About 500 million people watch Facebook videos every day and 82 percent users watch videos on Twitter, finds a recent study conducted by Insivia. Videos have emerged to be the most powerful marketing channel, which is why 87 percent online marketers leverage video content.

Millennials and GenXers are more glued to videos. About 35 percent millennials prefer watching YouTube videos compared to traditional television programming (18 percent).

Marketers who want to keep up with eCommerce marketing trends must include videos in their marketing strategies and empower their audiences to make better decisions.

2. Go Mobile

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of smartphone users. Gartner’s predictions indicate $77 billion will be generated from 268 billion mobile downloads in 2017. Moreover, according to the comScore Mobile Metrix, “the total browse time per month is much higher on smartphones – these figures compare to 34 hours and 29 hours for the United States and the United Kingdom on desktop.”

IKEA harnessed the capabilities of mobile by creating an intuitive app that transformed their catalogue into a unique and interactive platform. The app pages offered extra features that increased the level of customer engagement. The app allowed users to place certain products virtually by using the device’s camera and overlaying the product.
This creative approach led to 6.2 million app installations and encouraged users to spend average of eight minutes with the app versus just three minutes with the catalogue. The app provided users with something useful while showcasing the products in a unique way.

Savvy digital marketers must, therefore, focus on mobile marketing to reach the next level. Think out-of-the-box and come up with innovative ideas to engage users on a platform that they are addicted to.

3. Artificial Intelligence – The All New Rage

If you keep yourself updated on the latest trends in online marketing, you probably know about artificial intelligence (AI). A number of companies have utilized AI to generate product descriptions and other forms of content and have been successful in their experiments. Even Google uses RankBrain, an AI system, to interpret a huge number of queries.

The future of AI seems very promising. According to Gartner, “AI bots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020.” The Artificial Intelligence for Marketers: The Future Is Already Here, a report by EMarketer, reveals that “30.4 percent of respondents (of a survey of IT executives) planned to use machine learning techniques for campaign and sales program optimization and 26.8 percent for pricing optimization.”

As per the trends this year, AI will become mainstream in 2017 as it makes lives easier by parsing and crunching massive volumes of data from several sources, and establishes meaningful relationships that help marketers make important decisions. Combined with data mining tools, AI is marketers’ secret weapon to make shopping an interactive and personalized experience. In fact, a solid content marketing strategy would be incomplete without including AI technology.

4. Social Media Is Here to Stay

Customers are the heart and soul of your business; therefore, you must try and expand your reach. Social media provides the perfect way to connect with your existing customers and attract new prospects. Posting content (of various forms) will help you draw new customers and provide value to the existing ones.

Here is what IKEA did to attract attention on Twitter. IKEA encouraged its customers to post updates to show how they use its products. User-generated content works wonders as it engages people, and you get loads of fresh content without putting any effort. It also increases the credibility of your brand as real people endorse it.

IKEA’s Twitter campaign was successful as tweets containing images are 34 percent likely to get re-tweeted. So you can expand your reach quickly.

Ask your customers to post images and videos of themselves using your product and post them on social media. Show potential customers and fans how your products have helped make other people’s lives easier and watch the number of followers skyrocket

New content marketing trends emerge every year and the most successful online marketers are those who implement them before anyone else does. If you want to create a solid content marketing strategy, keep abreast with the latest trends that will rule eCommerce content marketing in 2017. A good way to do this is by subscribing to Google Alerts. This will help you stay updated on competitors’ activities, latest marketing trends, updates from your industry, and allow you to track what people are saying about you.

Conclusion

Content marketing can make or break your eCommerce business; and therefore, it is a must that you invest in a robust content plan. High-quality content allows you to connect with your customers and encourage them to take actions that can be beneficial for you.

If you are serious about your eCommerce brand, use the above tips to create a solid content marketing plan.

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