Ready for a bold statement? Running a successful eCommerce store isn’t quite what it used to be. In the past, brands could create a website, get it hosted, toss a shopping cart up on the home page, and call it a day, watching as the sales rolled in. Now? Not so much. The thing is it’s not that eCommerce has actually changed; it’s the way customers approach shopping that has changed.
Content Overload Burns Consumers Out
Consumers now are absolutely bombarded with products, ads, and requests to buy. To many of them, the choices are overwhelming, leaving it difficult to separate the signal from the noise. There’s actually a term for this: “Content Overload.” So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the process can often end with disappointing shopping experiences. Chances are you’ve experienced this yourself. That’s not a great impression to make on a potential customer, and you can pretty much rest assured if they’re unhappy they won’t become repeat buyers.
While so many brands take the easy way out, making it all about them and their products, smart brands are taking a different approach, going “old school” so to speak, and doing one very important thing: making it all about the customer. The difference between the brands that realize this fact and don’t is the difference between those that are successful over the long term.
Knowing Your Customer Matters
Here’s the good news. You can form a deeper relationship with your customers, a relationship based on value and trust, by stepping up your approach to eCommerce content marketing. Now, when people hear content marketing they think, oh great, just toss up a few blog posts, a couple of product descriptions and we’re good to go.
Yes, that’s one approach, but it’s not going to make much of difference in the eyes of your potential customers. Instead, you have to do a deep dive into their psychology, motivations, habits, and personality to really understand them and what they want. This is known as a “buyer persona.” Creating a buyer personally is a key step that too many brands miss. You need to understand who your ideal customer is, where to find them, and what motivates them to buy. After all, how do you know what kind of incredible content to make, if you have no idea who you are actually selling to?
Three Parts to Customer Loyalty
Once you have your buyer persona down, you can start creating killer content. The real key is to follow the following three parts “formula:”
- Educate your potential buyers
- Gain the trust of your potential buyers
- Position your brand as an authority in your niche
That is the secret sauce of really seeing success with content marketing. Seems kinda obvious, right? The thing is, not many brands are doing this. They push out the content they “think” their customers want, and make it all about them, not the people who actually have the buying power.
The fact of the matter is once a consumer has decided they need to buy, the vast majority of people go online to research before making any buying decision. Consumers are looking for good information that can educate them and help them make the right buying decision. This is a huge opportunity for brands to get their eCommerce content marketing strategy in action, and highlight their products in unconventional ways that still speak directly to the needs of the customer.
Check out a few examples you can use that will speak directly to your customer’s needs:
- Buyer’s guides
- Comparison tables
- Unboxing videos
- Case studies
- Product ‘hacks” or secret tips
Do all of those to highlight a product? Yup, but they do it in a way that is focused on giving the customer as much information as possible. A happy byproduct of creating high-quality content that aims first to educate a consumer is that once they start getting into your content they develop trust. For many marketers, trust is the key to gaining customers that come back for more.
There isn’t a brand out there that doesn’t want to build up an engaged following of loyal customers. Studies have found that loyal customers can be worth as much as 10 times their first purchase. Not to mention, it costs brands a lot more money to acquire new customers than to create high levels of satisfaction among the customers they already have. That’s where having high trust levels can dramatically add to both the lifetime value of your customer and your bottom line.
This brings us to the last part of the formula: authority. A study done by the British Brands Group found that reputation and authority were among the biggest drivers of purchase and market penetration for consumers.
So how do you build authority? With your eCommerce content marketing strategy, of course. Here is where you pull out all the stops to highlight your brand as the best at what it does. Even if your site is still small and without a big following there are plenty of things you can do to create valuable content that will get you noticed. Here are just a few ideas:
- Create or participate in an expert roundup
- Write informative and engaging guest posts on popular industry blogs
- Create an “Ultimate” or “Definitive” guide for your niche
- Use visual content like video series or infographics
- Start a podcast (or be a guest on others in your industry)
When you create a total content marketing strategy that has building authority as a vital part, it won’t be long before your potential customers will start seeing your brand everywhere (and one that should be trusted).
Now, chances are you’re not going to strike gold with your content overnight. But if you stick with your content marketing game plan, and follow the three-part formula, you’re going to see success over the long term. With high-quality content available all over the internet, content that highlights your brand’s ability to educate consumers, connect with influencers, and demonstrate authority; your brand is going to be well positioned for growth.
That success is going to translate to more traffic, higher quality links, bigger conversion rates, and a loyal band of engaged customers who consistently come back for more.
The Secret Formula to Successful eCommerce Content Marketing (Infographic):
This infographic is provided by Tony Messer. He is the co-founder of UK web hosting company Pickaweb. He is also an author and loves helping small businesses, web designers, and developers to achieve great things. Follow him: Twitter | Google+ | Linkedin.