In order for an eCommerce store to make sales, it must first get viewers – in order for someone to purchase an item for sale on your website, they'll need to see it first. While ads are an effective way of bringing new traffic to your store, having a loyal following can do much more for your business than filling up ad-space.
The internet gives small companies an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores in that online sharing platforms give privately-owned business an excellent opportunity to build their brand through content, rather than through ads alone.
What does this mean for you?
- You can save money by cutting down on advertising costs.
- Your customers will have a more valuable and personal experience working for you, which will lead to higher retention rates.
- You can build a solid community around your products and brands, which can increase sales and create higher customer retention.
By utilizing content marketing as part of your growth strategy, you can save money, increase sales, and build a reliable brand for your company.
There are a number of ways you can use content marketing to build your brand and increase sales:
- Use video marketing on social media platforms to reach a large audience.
- Use blog posts to help customers – give them tips on how to use their product.
- Feature customer stories on your social media pages, store page, and blog.
Recently, social media platforms have begun to develop in-app video recording and sharing services that allow users to more easily post and share content. No longer do readers on Twitter or Facebook need to click a link to an external website to view your video: you can post it directly to the platform, where it can be viewed on any device. Use Facebook and Twitter's video services to post short, informational videos about your products and company. Make them eye-catching, and just long enough to cover the topic. Show off a new product, do a short bit on how to use the product, or come up with something more creative – the point is to catch the customer's eye as they are scrolling through their feed.
When uploading to YouTube, different rules apply. Videos uploaded to YouTube should be longer than those posted to Facebook and Twitter, and should be informative. Consider marketing the product in action, rather than the product itself – for example, if you are selling pots and pans for cooking, show a professionally recorded and edited video of a chef using your products. Seeing the product in action is very engaging for customers, and can be an excellent way to convert casual viewers into buyers.
It may be tempting to praise your products or services in every blog you post, however it's important to include content that is relevant to the customer. Customers will not be engaged by a heavily biased article clearly aimed at selling them your product. When customers or potential customers visit your blog, they are looking to be informed, entertained, or both. Include articles that show customers how they can enhance their experience with your product. Give them suggestions of what to pair it with, or alternative ways it can be used. This will vary widely from market to market, but the key is to understand your target audience, and look for tips and tricks that may help them enjoy your product more thoroughly.
In addition to enhancing your customers' experience with your product, you should consider doing something philanthropic with your product in order to better connect with your audience. For example, you could give school supplies to needy families if you sell pens, pencils, and other classroom essentials, or hold a contest for a Wardrobe Makeover if you sell clothing. Again, this is largely dependent on your target audience, however it leaves a lot of room to be creative. Think of something that would benefit your customers, and then use the idea to begin building a community.
Finally, it's important that your customers and potential customers know exactly what your product is capable of, and what makes it stand apart from the rest. Do this by featuring stories of your product being used in real life to achieve success; for example, a company that sells athletic shoes may want to feature a player who uses their brand that has found success. The company should tell their story, and get a personal testimony from the athlete regarding the product. This will give credence to your brand, and will show customers exactly what makes your product better than any other.