If you invest serious time and money in paid advertising efforts to market your products (we’re pretty sure you do), but you’re not completely sold on the value of content in e-commerce, here are a few reasons to reconsider:
One reason is increased conversions. Sites that employ content marketing convert nearly 6X better than sites that don’t.
Another is the competitive online retail space. 81% of customers research online before purchase. The more quality content you create, the higher your site ranks in organic search, and the more often consumers discover and engage with your products.
Conversion and SEO benefits aside, stories surrounding products help consumers develop a relationship with your brand. Content can help you attract and retain high-value customers who ramp up your word-of-mouth factor on- and offline. A little storytelling can even make your customers less price-sensitive.
Not sure where to begin or how to advance your current content strategy? Here are four content marketing tips, tailored for retail, that can help you find, engage, and convert customers.
Be the Expert
A core principle of content marketing is to drive quality traffic to a website, with the goal of filling the top of the purchase funnel with prospective customers. A tried-and-true method to drive traffic to your site is to be a rich, go-to information source that ranks high in search results.
Here’s how this helps get your products in front of customers:
If you sell paint supplies, think about how people would find your store online without searching for your brand or products directly. If I were planning to paint a room in my home, for example, I’d start a search with “How to paint a room,” or something similar.
I find multiple listings for guides on how to paint a room, and the top result is a how-to guide from your store. Your handy guide or how-to video walks me through the process, complete with links to the tools needed to properly get the job done. I’m ready to paint!
Conveniently, the paint, brushes, and drop cloths I need to buy are just a click away on your site.
This tactic applies no matter which space you sell in. In apparel, you could create a lookbook that offers tips on how to pair next season’s trends. In auto parts, it could be a guide on how to replace a car battery.
Solve a Customer’s Problem
Using knowledge of your customers and their pain points, you can develop content to make the decision to buy an easy one. If you know that fit or the need to try on an item is a concern for your customers, particularly when purchasing online, you can create content to help shoppers make the right choice.
Suits are a perfect example of a product known to cause shopper anxiety.
If you sell suits, you know that customers see them as an investment, and style and fit can make or break customer satisfaction. Nordstrom has a guide that walks customers through suit types and fitting. Shoppers get the look they’re after and the measurements right while they enjoy the convenience of shopping for a suit online.
Using knowledge of your customers and their pain points, you can develop content to make the decision to buy an easy one.
Nordstrom’s suit guide is a great example of how content can reduce friction in the purchase journey, add value to products, and increase likelihood that the customer will be satisfied with a purchase. And of course, satisfied customers can become repeat customers.
Incorporate Product Reviews
There’s no better validation in business than your customers’ votes of confidence. In B2B marketing, customer validation comes in the form of case studies and testimonials. In retail, it’s product reviews.
Incorporating user-generated product reviews into your content strategy can help validate products and build trust in your brand. We’ve seen how this works in Google Shopping. And considering that 54% of online purchasers read online reviews before buying, you’re giving shoppers useful information that can nudge them through the purchase funnel.
Reviews boost site SEO by enriching it with long-tail keywords your site can rank for, and they keep your site’s content fresh. The quantity, velocity, and diversity of online reviews make up important search ranking factor, according to Moz.
You might be thinking: This is great when customer feedback is positive, but what happens when it’s less than glowing?
First, a system for managing and responding to reviews is essential, so that reviews both positive and negative can be handled and acknowledged. With the right customer service response, negative reviews should not tarnish your online reputation.
Second, search engines reward quantity and diversity of reviews, so the more reviews generated and the more authentic they are, the higher your site will rank.
Consumer reviews of all stripes offer insight into the customer experience, so when negative reviews are posted, it’s an opportunity to consider ways to improve.
Give Your Big Ticket Items a Story
The higher the price tag on your products, the higher priority those products should receive on the content marketing scale. Mattresses, for example, are big ticket items that require consideration and research, making them a prime product for content marketing.
A little storytelling can even make your customers less price-sensitive.
Casper, a mattress brand with high word-of-mouth influence, takes an interesting approach. The brand’s website dives deeply into the design of mattresses, pillows, and sheets.
In addition to the Casper blog that features cheeky, product-focused content, Van Winkle’s is another Casper property dedicated to in-depth, journalistic coverage of sleep topics. On its website and other properties, Casper is telling stories about products, but also around them. The stories increase the perceived value of the product and get people talking.
This approach is a way for retail brands to position as thought leaders and build authority, in addition to directly marketing their products.
Great content can empower retailers to make online shopping a guided, seamless experience that engages customers and keeps them coming back. Generating sales and loyalty with content marketing means being in it for the long game, but investing in content as a long-term strategy can generate lasting, quantifiable benefits for your brand.