When it comes to ecommerce marketing, content truly is king.
Thanks to the rapid growth of the ecommerce industry, online customers today enjoy a wider variety of choice than ever before. As a result, people have become a lot more selective about which brands they buy from.
To stand out in this crowded environment, it’s no longer enough to just throw up a bunch of generic PPC ads. Instead, companies should focus on producing original, useful content that’s tailored for the specific needs of their target audience. Not only will this set you apart from the competition, it will also help you attract more attention from the right customers – those most likely to buy, love and promote your products.
The most successful ecommerce companies leverage the power of content to improve every single aspect of their marketing efforts. Here are four major benefits of investing in a content marketing strategy:
Content creation is the most effective SEO technique out there. Search engines give priority to webpages that are popular, useful and extensively referenced. The more of those pages you have on your website, the higher you’ll be ranked.
In particular, cornerstone content – high-quality, evergreen content that acts as a comprehensive resource on an important topic – can truly be a game changer in organic search. By writing an authoritative guide or FAQ on a subject that’s relevant to your target audience, you’ll be able to naturally attract backlinks to your site over time.
Outdoor clothing brand REI took this concept to another level by creating an entire microsite around expert outdoor advice:
REI doesn’t directly promote any of their products on this site, focusing instead on providing educational value on topics their customers care deeply about. Customers can also leave reviews and feedback on how the articles have helped them, allowing the company to improve its content over time.
Thanks to REI’s commitment to providing non-promotional, high-quality content, this section of their website has attracted over 1.5M backlinks to date!
Apart from improving your search rankings, content marketing is also great for increasing direct website traffic over time.
This is especially the case if you publish a consistently updated blog. Unlike with cornerstone content, the main goal here is not to attract new visitors looking for help on a particular topic, but to develop a base of regular visitors who come back every day for new content.
The key to doing this is to aim for a high frequency of posts, often on light-hearted or current topics that your audience cares about. Most people won’t need a new how-to guide every single day, but they can always enjoy a quick laugh, an interesting new fact, or a cool story. Over time, your regulars will develop an attachment to your site that transcends Google.
The strategy might sound simple, but it works very well. Hubspot found that companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that publish between 0-4 posts.
But of course, you only get those results if people actually enjoy reading your posts in the first place. A great example of a company that “gets it” is Dollar Shave Club:
Clearly, their blog speaks to men and only men – which makes sense given the products they sell. Narrowly targeting your content can be a great way to attract your ideal customers, and also gives you a natural reason to produce unique content that is not likely to be covered by your competitors.
Content marketing isn’t just for attracting curious website visitors at the top of the funnel. Skillfully employed, it can also be a powerful tool for generating highly qualified leads. In fact, according to DemandMetric, content marketing generates more than 3x as many leads as outbound marketing, while costing 62% less.
The reason for this is that content is extremely effective at nurturing relationships with website visitors, and growing their engagement with the brand over time. By providing a reason for visitors to stick around, you’re encouraging them to think of themselves as being part of your community. And at that point, signing up for your email list and eventually buying your products becomes a much more natural progression.
That is precisely the goal of TaylorMade Golf’s Interact Hub, which pulls together all the content produced by the company, including blog posts, online video, articles by sponsored golfers, and even coverage in golf magazines and other publications.
According to Graeme Morton, TaylorMade’s Consumer Marketing Manager, the hub has helped the company to hit 10,000 monthly page views. More importantly, dwell time in the hub is 3x higher than anywhere else on the TaylorMade site – a sure sign of high customer engagement.
Of course, the hub also includes an email subscription form where visitors can sign up for more content delivered directly to their inbox – which means that this higher engagement is efficiently captured and converted into solid leads.
Apart from simply getting people interested in your brand, content marketing can also be a powerful tool for getting them to actually buy your products. Research from Aberdeen Group shows that conversion rates are 6x higher for companies using content marketing than those that don’t.
This is because, while content in itself can’t make any direct sales, it can build trust with your customers in a way that no other marketing method can. That trust may take time to cultivate, but the payoff can be substantial.
An excellent case study of this can be found in Nikon’s D850 Expert Panel. Held to mark the launch of the hotly anticipated high-end DSLR camera, the panel brought together a number of prominent photography experts to discuss the features and applications of the D850 in great depth.
While the technical nature of the discussion may sound boring to anyone unfamiliar with the subject matter, the event drew an extremely enthusiastic response within the photography community:
As a result of this event and Nikon’s other highly targeted marketing efforts, the D850 became one of the most successful products in the company’s history, and was largely responsible for a 76.2% increase in total operating profits for Nikon’s entire Imaging division – within 9 months of its launch!
When leveraged effectively and consistently, content marketing can be a game changer for any ecommerce company. It can supercharge your results at every step of the funnel, while helping you to build a truly unique, differentiated brand. By investing in content marketing today, your ecommerce company can plant the seeds for massive, sustainable success tomorrow.