It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing your marketing online, offline or (more likely these days) both; the constant across all channels is content. After all, as a brand, you depend on content to clearly communicate your messaging. An advert, social post, video... whatever, the key element in all of these formats is the content.
However, while creating great content is important, if it’s not being marketed or distributed effectively, your message will fall flat. This is where content marketing comes into play.
Similar to traditional marketing, a good content marketing strategy encompasses a holistic approach to distribution and marketing. A single piece of content by itself is unlikely to have a profound effect on your marketing efforts. But when you utilise that single piece of content through various different marketing channels, it can help to push your business forward.
Let’s take, as a very basic example, the creation of a blog post for your website. Instead of waiting for the traffic to arrive at your new blog post and feeling disheartened when it inevitably does not, why not use the content in a broader social media strategy, across your email marketing platforms and with adverts running alongside it?
This broadens the distribution of the content, strengthens the other marketing channels and helps to improve your brand awareness. This, in a nutshell, is content marketing.
In this article, we’re going to look at different content types that can be used in content marketing, and how to effectively distribute that content across your marketing channels. We’ll also look at why content marketing is important to a modern ecommerce business and how it can be a conversion driving factor.
What types of content might you use?
Content should be seen as the personality of your brand. Great content communicates clearly the message while also encompassing the essence of what your brand is about.
It’s recommended that when a merchant starts to outsource its content, it assembles a ‘tone of voice’ document. This puts in place guidelines on the language that is to be used across the brand’s content, as well as keywords to avoid. It also, crucially, helps content creators to better understand the personality of the brand.
Once guidelines are in place, you can start to create content. The type of content that can be used in content marketing is essentially unlimited. If your content is used to sell a product or a service or it provides relevant and engaging information to your target audience, it can be used in a content marketing strategy.
Your onsite content should be the go-to source of quality content that your audience regularly refers to. If you can create highly engaging regular content, you’ll be building a community around your brand. Whether it’s product descriptions, a blog article or the ‘about us’ page, all of the content on your site should be optimised for content marketing.
Initially, you can start by making your written content as friendly as possible for the search engines. Incorporating your onsite content into your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy can help your site to achieve an uplift in organic traffic. This can be especially the case when you’re creating blog articles around semantic and long-tail keywords.
Did you know that 92% of marketers currently using video marketing say it’s important to their overall marketing strategies? Videos capture the attention of your audience much quicker than traditional written content. While it’s important to still focus on written content, it’s clear that video content is important to any marketing strategy.
Video content can come in various different forms, and it doesn’t necessarily need to have a huge budget to be successful. With most social media platforms heavily focussing on videos, it’s important that content creators utilise moving images and video footage across their social strategies.
Why does content marketing matter so much in ecommerce?
With ecommerce growing globally year on year, it can be safely assumed that the market will become more saturated. Utilising different forms of marketing therefore becomes more important in order to reach out to potential customers. Often, ecommerce site owners can find themselves in a price war, with their prospects of growing their audiences seemingly dependent on how low they’re willing to go.
By empowering your marketing efforts with a robust content marketing strategy, you shift the focus away from the price of your product. Instead, content marketing helps you to create a community of brand followers and shifts the focus onto the unique selling points (USPs) of your brand and the quality of the product.
Utilise the right content marketing efforts in the right ways, and you will be able to stay in constant contact with your audience at different points in the sales funnel. Whether you use content marketing to upsell, cross-sell or encourage the first purchase, it can be integral to your efforts to increase sales.
Investing in a full content marketing strategy not only heightens your chances of attracting purchases from your target audience, but also helps to increase the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing channels. When implemented correctly, this can lead to a significant shift in business operations and improve metrics such as lifetime value (LTV) and average order value (AOV).
Distributing your content
Quality, accurate and regularly updated content creates the foundation for a successful content marketing strategy. Once you’ve laid the foundations, you’ll need to implement the distribution element of content marketing.
As a rule of thumb, a single piece of content shouldn’t be used in just one distribution channel. Each piece of content is there to strengthen your current marketing channels.
Optimising every piece of content that’s on your site to be search engine friendly will be crucial for improving the overall ranking ability of your site.
If you’re writing blog articles for your ecommerce store, invest in some keyword research to target long-tail or semantic keywords. While this won’t drive massive amounts of traffic to your site, it does create new organic leads that can become a staple revenue stream over time.
Email marketing in an ecommerce business can be invaluable and drive large proportions of revenue. By integrating pieces of content into your email marketing strategies, you’ll be doing your bit to improve how engaging your emails are for recipients.
Providing quality content in your emails on a regular basis will help to keep your audience engaged. Even if a given user isn’t a customer yet, this constant contact with them may well influence them to make a purchasing decision with you in the future.
However, your content and articles shouldn’t just be used as part of standard email campaigns, given that utilising them within automated flows could further help to grow your brand. Automated flows are especially flexible automated emails – think automated upselling and cross-selling email recommendations, for example, or automated campaigns aimed at winning back past customers.
When a user signs up to your email list and receives quality content in an automated flow, they’re receiving trust signals from your brand. These trust signals ultimately help the user to make a decision to buy from you.
Driving traffic to your site from social media requires more than just posting about your products. By using your onsite content as part of a social strategy, you can improve the quality of your social stream. This will encourage more users to click through to your site and improve engagement, while also helping to grow you a bigger following.
Utilising videos on social media will help you to improve the engagement rates of your content, appear organically in newsfeeds and enhance brand awareness. This organic visibility can be invaluable to some ecommerce brands.
Creating custom audiences based on your market research, paid social can help you to find new customers with a relatively high ROI.
You can optimise this even further by introducing content creation into your paid social strategy. This can help you to distribute your content further and grow a bigger target audience.
While it’s still important to target your audience with product advertising, running a content-based ad alongside can help your campaign to stand out and draw more attention to your brand.
Using PPC adverts in your content marketing can help with the distribution of your content in several ways.
If you’ve optimised your site for a specific set of semantic keywords, consider advertising the content for those keywords initially. It’s likely that PPC competition on semantic and long-tail keywords will be low. This could help to manage the return on ad spend (ROAS) of your content and ensure the content is distributed to the right audiences.
Utilising content-based PPC adverts alongside your current PPC campaigns will help you to grow a bigger audience and improve the quality of your advertising.
How can you measure the success of your content marketing?
Measuring the success of content marketing can be complex but not impossible. Because content marketing utilises as many of your existing marketing channels as possible, it requires some collation of data to report on.
One of the ways you can do this is by measuring the engagement of a content call to action (CTA). If your content has specific instructions to view a particular product, sign up to an email list or contact your team, you can set metrics up in Google Analytics to track these goals. Over time, this will give you clear data on the click-through rates (CTR) of your CTAs. This can then be A/B tested and optimised to improve the effectiveness of your content.
Of course, within any marketing channel that you’re currently working with, you should be able to report on the success of these.
Using tools such as Google Search Console, you’ll be able to measure the SEO success of individual pieces of content. It’s always a good idea to monitor the organic ranking of an article on a regular basis, as this will allow you to optimise further in future updates and measure the ROI of an SEO campaign.
Within your email marketing platform, you’ll be able to see which emails are performing best. A/B test different content in different positions within the emails to get the best-performing results and optimise future email marketing.
On social media, you’ll be able to see the engagement rates for a particular post. It’s worth analysing this data on a regular basis to understand which type of content receives better engagement rates. This will help you to provide better content and superior content marketing in the future.
Of course, with any paid media, be it paid social or PPC, you can measure the success based on ROAS. Expect to see a lower ROAS on content-based adverts than on product-based adverts. Content marketing can lead to longer sales funnels, and while this may seem unappealing at first glance, it usually leads to better LTVs.
It’s important to collate all of the data across your various marketing channels to get a better understanding of where your content performs the best. This will help you to make better content in the future, while also assisting you in building out more effective content marketing strategies.
Our team here at Underwaterpistol is ready and waiting to lend your store the benefit of our knowhow in Shopify email marketing, Instagram marketing and other aspects of content creation in 2020. Get in touch now for more information.