One challenge that most ecommerce brands face is being able to make an authentic connection with their audience that goes beyond just a sales pitch. Connecting with your customers through compelling content is one of the best ways to build customer relationships and encourage repeat business. Of course, this is no easy feat! But you’re in luck. Below, we’ve put together some tips that will help you create ecommerce content like a content marketing agency.
1. Get to know your customers.
The first step in being able to create great ecommerce content is really getting to know your ideal customers, including what they need, which challenges they face, and what they find most valuable. Effective content is not product-focused but rather addresses your target audience’s pain points. That’s why it’s important to understand your audience’s challenges so that your brand can start connecting with consumers on a deeper level.
You can start getting to know your customers by focusing on demographic data. Figure out where your best customers live, what jobs they hold, how much they make each year, what their education is, if they have children, and other important personal information. This will give you a better idea of who your ideal customers are and what their life is like, which is valuable when planning out topics and deciding on which types of content and platforms will work best.
Creating detailed buyer personas is one way to keep all this consumer information organized and available to use when you are planning and creating content. Buyer or customer personas are generalized and fictionalized representations of your target audience. These profiles allow you to get to know your audience better and help you find new ways to relate to them on a deeper, more human level.
Using buyer personas can improve your ecommerce marketing content as they help you narrow down the audience for each piece of content and help you create more value for the reader. For example, an audience of young suburban mothers will have a different set of priorities and values than middle-aged business men.
To create customer personas, you will need start by gathering the information you need to flesh out these profiles. Here are some places that you might gather data from:
- Customer Interviews – Start by interviewing your best customers to get a better idea about their needs, challenges, and demographics.
- Market Research – Gather market research to see what types of consumers are most interested in your product offering.
- Competitor Audits – Research your competitors to see what types of audiences they are targeting.
- Social Media Monitoring – Monitor social media communities and conversations to better understand what your target consumers care about most.
This data will help you better understand who your customers are as people. This will allow you to create target ecommerce content that speaks to the needs and challenges of those who are most likely to be interested in your product offering.
Let’s say we sell trendy teen clothing designed after what the stars wear on their fancy vacations. Here’s an example of what our buyer persona might look like:
2. Define your ecommerce marketing content goals.
Once you know who your target audience is, it is time to determine what your content marketing goals are. Most ecommerce brands want to increase add to carts and sales. If you want to work toward achieving these goals with your ecommerce marketing content, then it’s important that you define goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with this overall business objective.
Here are examples of some goals and KPIs that you might set for your ecommerce content marketing:
- Increase organic traffic. This is what many brands hope to achieve with their marketing content. If you want to see whether your content is bringing in more organic traffic, you might use a KPI like the number of visitors that arrive to your site through a piece of content they found through organic search.
- Increase social traffic. If you want to increase your traffic from social channels, you might measure the number of visitors who arrive from your social media channels. You can track which pieces of promoted content they clicked on to get to your site.
- Get more add to carts. Ecommerce brands want consumers to add more products to their carts. A KPI that you may use for your content to measure performance for this goal is the number of products that are added to a cart from your brand blog.
- Increase sales. To measure how successfully your content helps improve sales, you might track the number of sales that are made from your blog.
These are just a few goals and KPIs that you might use to measure the effectiveness of your content. When you first get started, it’s best to stick with about 3 simple goals. Track your performance over a period of time and make adjustments to your content to influence more conversions.
3. Understand the customer journey.
Buyers go through different steps during the purchasing process depending on where they are in the customer journey. For instance, someone who has just discovered their problem may need to do more research to see which products help solve their issues, while someone who has already done this research may just be looking for the product that can best meet his or her needs.
The key to developing content marketing that is targeted effectively is segmenting your audience and creating content that addresses their needs during each step of the purchasing process. You can use your sales funnel to better understand what your customers need during each step of this process and what types of content best meet these needs.
To better understand your customers throughout the sales funnel and what types of content they need during each step, consider the inbound marketing funnel:
- Top of the Funnel (ToFu): Top of funnel content is aimed at getting your audience’s attention. At this point, your audience may not know much about their challenges or which products can help meet these needs. This content should have less of a sales intent and instead be aimed at capturing your audience’s attention and educating them. In order to appeal to your audience at this point, you will want to make sure that your content is focused on them and their biggest pain points.
- Middle of the Funnel (MoFu): Once consumers move to this part of the funnel, they have already expressed interest in what you have to say. This is the point where you will start delivering content that shows them how your products can work to solve their biggest challenges. Many ecommerce brands can skip this step as their customers often go from interested to ready-to-buy. However, this step is important for those ecommerce brands that sell more complex consumer products.
- Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu): In this last step, you have already convinced your audience that your products will solve their problems. Now, you need to help them better understand which exact products are right for them, the ways they can use your product, and what benefits your product offers over similar products. Your goal with bottom of the funnel content is to get consumers to make the purchase.
Creating content marketing for each step in this purchasing process will help you ensure that you’re delivering the right messaging and content for buyers wherever they may be in the purchasing process.
4. Analyze your industry, and conduct content audits.
You may have some really great ideas for content. However, if every other ecommerce brand is developing the same content, then there is a good chance that your content will be ignored. It’s important to analyze your industry to see which topics are of most value and conduct content audits among your competitors to see what’s already out there.
A content audit involves visiting your major competitor’s websites and social channels to see which types of content they produce. As you look at competitor sites, consider which topics they cover, what types of content they create, and the frequency in which they create and publish content. This will give you a better idea of what’s already out there.
Once you’ve performed an industry analysis and competitor content audit, you can see which topics are overdone and which are of most value to your target audience. Just because your competitor has covered a certain topic doesn’t mean it’s off limits. Look for new ways to approach this topic or add additional value for your reader so that you can avoid saying what’s already been said.
5. Start brainstorming content ideas and decide which formats work best.
Now that you have done your research to better understand your buyers, goals, and industry content, it’s time to start brainstorming content topics. The best place to start is by making a list of the biggest challenges that your customers face. Start with the 5 biggest pain points that cause your audience to seek out solutions.
Now that you have the biggest challenges laid out, it’s time to start creating topics based on these challenges. Brainstorm 5-10 different ideas for each challenge. Remember, your goal is to add value for your audience. Not only should you consider their needs, wants, and values, but also what they need during each step of the buyer’s journey. It’s okay if all of your ideas aren’t great. You can narrow down the list later as you refine your ideas and start building out your content.
Once you’ve come up with some killer ecommerce marketing content ideas, it’s time to consider which content formats work best. Ultimately, you will want to create a mix of content from short articles (300-500 words), medium articles (500-1000 words), and longer articles (1000-3000 words). You can also include more diverse types of content like buyer’s guides, product reviews, comparison guides, infographics, and videos—you could even create this kind of content by repurposing some of your popular blog content:
6. Develop a content calendar.
After you’ve come up with some content ideas and decided which format these content marketing assets will take, you’ll want to develop a content calendar. Content calendars help you better plan out your time and resources, while also ensuring that you remain consistent in your content publishing efforts.
Creating a content calendar is pretty simple. Here are some things that you may want to include on the calendar:
- Publish Date
- Due Date
- Brief Description
- Buyer Persona
- Promotion Information
Be realistic when deciding on deadlines for your content. For instance, while you may be able to write and publish a blog in one week, longer content formats will take a bit longer. Start with a 3-month calendar, and make sure that you are planning at least one piece of content each week.
7. Promote, promote, promote!
The fun isn’t over after you’ve created compelling content assets. If you really want to work like a content marketing agency then you’ll need to find ways to promote this content. After all, your content is only valuable if it finds its way to your audience.
With so much noise in the busy online marketplace, it can be difficult to make sure that your content reaches its intended audience. For best results, you will want to use a mix of different content promotion strategies, utilizing owned media, earned media, and paid media.
Here’s a breakdown of these different channels and how you can utilize each:
- Owned Media – Owned media is made up of channels that you own, such as your blog, email list, and social media accounts. Every time you publish a piece of content, you can use these channels to ensure that all your fans and followers have a chance to read it.
- Earned Media – These promotion channels are made up of all the people who may be interested in your content. You have to “earn,” their attention, but it is often worthwhile once you do. For instance, this might be industry influencers, investors, industry experts, or journalists that you connect with, build relationships, and share your content over time. If you “earn” their interest, there is a good chance that they will share your content with others, thus expanding your reach.
- Paid Media – For some reason, some brands shy away from paid media, but in today’s noisy online marketplace, it is often the best way to get your audience’s attention. You can use tactics like developing Facebook ecommerce ads to promote new content. You may also consider ads on Google or other websites that your target audience often frequents.
If you really want to get the most out of your ecommerce marketing content, then you’ll want to start thinking like a content marketing agency. Now that you understand the different pieces involved in ecommerce content marketing, you can work to build an effective strategy and system for creating and promoting content. Though effective content marketing takes time, it is one of the best ways to build the kind of customer relationships that will keep consumers coming back to your ecommerce site time and time again.
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