You've read countless articles and even books on digital and content marketing. You have a content marketing strategy. You're even doing content promotion. But despite all of that, you're still having trouble generating leads and scoring more traffic for your Ecommerce store.
That can be frustrating when you know that 94% of small businesses are leveraging content marketing.
You have to be careful not to focus too heavily on the moves of other companies, though. Neil Patel talked about this in his post, 10 Common Reasons Why Content Marketing Isn't Working for You. He says,"Just because everyone is doing content marketing does not mean that they are winning at content marketing."
In fact, less than half of marketers consider their content efforts to be effective.
While you might be doing everything "right," you're likely not doing the things that are right for you, your brand, your industry, and your customer. More than likely, you've followed a lot of generic advice in the vein of traditional content marketing.
The problem is that traditional content marketing tends to be top-of-the-funnel stuff that's just meant to generate initial interest. Top-level, light-in-value blogs are the most commonly-used content, followed by basic explainer videos, generic email marketing, and product-centric content posts.
That content isn't necessarily bad, but you can't prop yourself up on it and have it be the heart of your content marketing.
Traditional content marketing is less effective for Ecommerce retailers for a number of reasons:
Ecommerce customers want a solution, fast. For a lot of consumer products, particularly in the lower price points, the customer is focused on the solution. That means you've got a much shorter sales funnel. Top-of-funnel content is good to get their attention, but if you want to win them over fast to spur the purchase, you need middle-of-the-funnel content that delivers some serious value.
You've got to have that 10x content that is good enough to make them want to choose you, in that moment, over a competitor.
Rand Fishkin of Moz goes into great detail when he talks about how difficult it is to create 10x content. In his words, "Knowing how and where to start can often be the biggest obstacle you'll face." Go for that high-level value and you'll see your efforts pay dividends.
Ecommerce customers have shorter attention spans. It's easy to lose customers to flashes in the pan from various online sources and real-world distractions.
Your content strategy should include bite-size content that's easy to digest. Short Instagram videos, Vines, and even Snapchat videos can help you stay engaged without trying to monopolize the audience's time.
I frequently use Snapchat to stay engaged with my own audience, and it takes very little time each day to respond to comments on my videos or Snapchat stories.
Ecommerce customers are protective of their network. They want to share content but it needs to have significant value. When you're producing content, make sure there is real value to it and that it isn't promotional. Provide actionable takeaways, teach them something, inspire them, and they'll be far more likely to engage with and share your content.
Every piece of content you produce must have a purpose. It must have a "why."
"This is why most marketers are so terrible at content creation,"writes Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute. "The 'why' to most marketers is about driving demand and selling more widgets."
Check out these great examples of content marketing from Ecommerce companies that are doing it right:
1. Vines from Lowe's
Lowe's Vine videos use tidbits of humor while showing practical product use. It's a great way to offer light content for engagement that keeps the brand in the mind of the audience.
2. Scotts Menswear
Scotts Menswear does it right by providing a variety of content its prospects and fans can relate to, with carefully and infrequently placed promotions sprinkled where they fit naturally. It's a smart way to draw attention to products and promotions without being pushy, and still providing value.
3. Mr Porter
This online clothing retailer uses smart, sleek, and well-presented articles to engage a specific audience. Its content leverages influencers and interviews. It includes fashion insights for men, industry news, and interviews with Broadway actors and cast members from the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Taking the time to research and understand your audience makes it easy to understand not only the type of content the customer is looking for, but also the context and topics that will resonate best. In this case, Mr Porter offers content that appeals to different segments of its audience, rather than taking a broad stroke to appeal to all.
Rather than create a video channel that people wouldn't really subscribe to in large numbers, supermarket chain ASDA created a YouTube channel with content created by partners and branded it as "brought to you by ASDA."
ASDA set a target of 750,000 views for the first year. They hit it after eight weeks. The channel has nearly 87,000 subscribers with links to ASDA, averaging a 1% click-through rate. More than 1,100 have clicked through on the "bunny lamp" link and made a purchase.
Patagonia sells outdoor products and travel gear, and to help the company connect with its audience, it avoids specific product promotion. Instead, Patagonia usesa mix of video and written content, along with user-generated content, to provide educational tips on the outdoors in a place where it knows its audience is planning to go.
This is a great example of how to use a mix of content formats that are wholly educational, easy to digest and packed with value.
If traditional content marketing methods aren't working for your business, don't be afraid to branch out and try new things. Not everything you produce is going to be a hit. Some things will work better than others.
However, you can score more wins by taking the time to listen to your audience. Find out how best to engage them, what content formats to use, and which topics they want to see.
Refine your content strategy to include a varied mix of content, and focus on value. Leverage influencers where you can and always create content that is 10x better than what your audience is experiencing right now.Map that content to your sales funnel for maximum impact.
What are some unconventional methods you've used to grow your Ecommerce site? Share your success and tips in the comments below: