The eCommerce sector is skyrocketing. Global eCommerce is predicted to be worth almost $2.5 trillion in 2018. In such a dynamic industry, it is critical to test the latest content marketing tactics to get ahead of the competition. Whilst product sales are of central importance to this industry, the challenge of brand-building is also pertinent to ensure long-term success.

In this article, I will look at three core areas where eCommerce brands can make an impact with content marketing. This advice reflects the importance of influencer involvement, paid content distribution, and visual media.

The fundamentals of content marketing

The fundamentals of content marketing apply to all businesses, eCommerce and otherwise. First and foremost, the audience must be comprehensively known and understood. In order to publish and distribute media that makes an impact, that media must apply to a certain need state or pain point. Before publishing content for the sake of it, this must be addressed. So you should map your buyer personas and understand their decision journey.

Furthermore, content marketing for eCommerce brands must contribute in some way to the bottom line. According to CMI, content marketing generates more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. This, of course, depends on whether it is executed right and measured correctly. Ultimately, the success of content marketing can be tracked, but you need to work backwards (through conversion metrics) to ascertain how much traffic you need to generate in order to meet sales targets. This will be unique to each brand.

Above all, you need a considered strategy behind content marketing efforts. Apply quantitative and qualitative research, and consider each piece of content as a contribution to the wider goal.

1. Influencer insights

eCommerce brands have an opportunity to make influencer marketing permeate content in all areas. The traditional form of influencer marketing is to pay an influencer to promote a product or service via their social channel(s), which is a key method for them to generate revenue. But from the brand’s perspective, the use of influencers can be deeper and more subtle.

The necessity to tell stories in content is well-understood. Influencers can help your eCommerce brand achieve this by offering unique insights from their perspective. Interviews are a win-win scenario because the influencer gets further exposure via your marketing channels, and you leverage their audience to boost brand awareness.

Whether you create a full-feature interview piece or curate multiple perspectives, giving influencers a stake in your content is beneficial and will lead to better overall reach.

2. Paid content distribution

There are ways to boost the reach of your content without paid media, but social media has largely become a “pay-to-play” arena for brands. With the aim to monetize the platform as much as possible, Facebook has limited the ability of pages to reach the feed organically. Other social channels have followed suit. Whilst his has reduced your ability to make an impact without ad budget, it has opened up an opportunity to target specific audiences with modest investment.

eCommerce brands should allocate funds to paid distribution as part of the digital marketing budget. With increasing competition in the search results and more social noise than ever, only paid distribution will guarantee cut-through. First, you need to create compelling content, then you need to deliver it to the people who will respond to it. This will generate awareness and traffic, and with an established journey of touch points, it will also generate sales.

3. Focus on visual media

The meteoric rise of Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest (to name just three) has highlighted the increase in demand for visual content. Whilst there will always be a place for the written word, better mobile devices and increased connectivity has made visual marketing imperative for eCommerce brands. With the wealth of products in your catalogue, there is a great opportunity to get creative with their use and application; perhaps with the involvement of influencers.

Instagram surpassed Twitter in 2017 for monthly active users, and many eCommerce brands are using this channel as a key awareness tool. With newly-improved advertising options, Instagram also presents a direct route to selling more from your eCommerce catalogue. The adoption of video functionality into Instagram also highlights a trend in video that cannot be ignored.

Again, go beyond the basics of direct product promotion when creating visual media. Tap into the interests of your audience. For example, an online sports store may interview local football club supporters about a special moment in their history, and promote this content in those geographical areas. It could also be a bit left-field. For example, an online art supplies store might speak to farmers to get unique insights on what natural landscapes mean to them.

4. Alleviate customer doubts

Content is an excellent opportunity to alleviate any doubts among your target audience. The blog acts as a perfect resource to answer FAQs and go deep into concerns. Tapping into the obstacles along the customer journey not only allows you to streamline the route to conversion, but also highlights the queries that will be searched by customers in the process of an order.

By answering these questions directly on your blog, you will build organic search traffic and show that you’re in tune with the needs of your customers.

Check out how to use the understanding of your buyer’s journey to create a lasting relationship with customers since before they even consider buying from you.

Conclusion

Content marketing is not likely to disappear. The fundamentals of storytelling and the alignment of content strategy with business goals will remain constant. However, content marketing has evolved in many areas. From its product-centric origins, content marketing has developed to help eCommerce brands become publishers in their own right.

Content distribution is critical, and this is where paid media comes into the strategy; to guarantee the eyeballs that would otherwise be diverted elsewhere. Furthermore, influencers are central to content reach, and eCommerce brands should look to involve external stakeholders and leverage their audience as a result. Visual media must form part of your efforts at this time, but this must be applied to where your specific audience hangs out.

eCommerce is a booming area, and this provides an exciting opportunity for content marketers to generate awareness and build a powerful brand.

About the author

Charlie Carpenter is the co-founder and CEO of Kite. He is a mobile advocate with over ten years of industry experience.

After working for large and small agencies for many years, he co-founded Kite; a software solution for print-on-demand, zero inventory merchandise, and personalized photo print goods. As well as an entrepreneur, Charlie is a seasoned product strategist with experience of various types of digital projects which include: Responsive and Adaptive Websites, Mobile & Tablet Apps, Hybrid Apps, Cross Platform App development.

You can connect with Charlie on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter.

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