Content marketing can be an online store’s secret weapon. The powerful content and commerce combination is helping more brands rank higher in search, increase brand awareness and build a massive audience within a niche. By pumping out blog posts, vlogs, podcasts, or social posts regularly you increase your chances of landing new customers. If you’re looking to take your brand to the next level or want to build for the long-term, this article will help you better understand what is content marketing, showcase some examples and you’ll discover what a winning content strategy looks like.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a type of marketing that uses content like blog posts, video, podcasts, social media posts, ebooks or infographics to help promote a brand. For example, this blog post you’re reading right now is a form of content.
According to CM Institute, the content marketing definition is defined as ‘…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’
We’ll break down what that means in the next section.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy involves creating relevant and valuable content to better attract readers and ease them through the sales funnel. For new customers, your content might be the first point of contact with your business.
Relevant content involves creating content geared towards your audience. For example, if you have an astrology store, the content you create should include topics such as zodiac signs, horoscopes, and general information about astrology.
Valuable content either educates or entertains readers. For example, ‘10 Traits of a Capricorn’ could both educate and entertain a Capricorn reader on an astrology store.
If you regularly put out new content, eventually, your content will be found organically in search or through reach.
Since you’re creating content geared towards a specific audience, you’re attracting qualified traffic which can result in qualified leads. A qualified lead is a potential customer who is likely to buy your products as they’ve shown an interest in them. Since the traffic you’re receiving is laser-focused on your niche, you have a better chance of converting the visitor into a customer.
How to Create Content that Converts
Here are some content marketing strategies that help convert your content into a money-making machine.
- Retargeting: I mentioned it a million times in my 50 Ways to Get Sales with Dropshipping ebook and I’ll say it again, this content marketing strategy works. It resulted in a 9x ROI. When you create content, focus on getting free traffic through social. How do you do that? Add influencers or experts in every post. You can use HARO or personally email niche experts to get a quote for your article. For example, say you’re working on a ‘Top 10 Crossfit Experts Share Their Workout Routine’ article for your crossfit store. You’d need to find ten influencers in that niche to share their advice. Then before you start promoting it on social media, create a retargeting ad on Facebook. As soon as you have that ad running, you share it on social media tagging all the influencers that they’ve been featured. They’ll likely retweet it with their audience. Since they’re niche experts you’ll bring in qualified traffic and the retargeting ad will take care of monetization. It brought me sales on day two of launch.
- Gamification: On my online store, I’ve experimented with gamification. Long story short, it works. You can use Shopify apps like Spin A Sale. What this app does is gamify the email list building process. So when your customer is about to close a tab, the spinner pops up onto the screen. A customer can then submit their email for a chance to win a discount on your store. So not only does it collect emails but it can help boost sales. Best part: you don’t need to do much work after installing the app.
- Blogging: So everyone knows that if you can consistently add new, quality blog posts, you’ll start to grow traffic over time. However, what they don’t realize is that an important part of SEO optimization requires you to update your content every few months. Your changes don’t need to be drastic. However, you’ll need to remove outdated content, add new relevant information or graphics, and maybe add a few new keywords. This can help skyrocket old blog posts to a higher ranking. No one wants to read an article that was written in 2012. So update your content regularly for a sudden boost in traffic.
- Giveaways: Giveaways can help skyrocket your content strategy. First, it can drive a high volume of traffic back to your store which can help your website rank a bit better. It can also build up your social media engagement which will help your future social posts gain more visibility. But how can giveaways increase sales? Well, after your giveaway has ended, you award a prize to a winner. And that winner is all happy and excited. But the people who didn’t win end up disappointed. So the secret is to offer up a runner up prize. A runner up prize can be a $5 gift card to your store. You’ll need to make sure all your products are priced high enough that customers can’t get free items. Make sure your lowest product price will still offer up a profit after the deduction.
- Video content marketing: What is content marketing without video? A missed opportunity. Video content is on the rise and there’s a growing number of people doing it. Video content tends to get the most engagement especially on platforms like Instagram. Since it’s a bit more work than creating graphics, you should focus on doing this now as more brands are starting to execute this strategy.
Benefits of Content Marketing
The benefits of content marketing include an increase in traffic, a boost in sales and it helps build stronger customer relationships.
- It increases traffic: The more content you produce on your website, the more likely you’ll start increasing your online visibility. Quality content is a must. And optimizing it for search will give it that extra boost it needs. Plus with social sharing, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to your website. If you can score a higher volume you can increase your chances of boosting sales.
- Content can help boost sales: It has a low acquisition cost. Why? Well if you’re already driving free traffic through search or social media, you can use a retargeting ad which costs much less than your standard ad to convert your audience. When I retargeted blog traffic, I was able to have a 9x ROI from my ads.
- It builds strong customer relationships: VALUE. Are you providing enough of it? Teach your customers new tricks. Make them laugh with interesting stories. Feature customers in your content to make them feel special. Your content can be a way to connect with your customers on a deeper level so create content for them.
5 B2C and B2B Content Marketing Examples
50 Ways to Get Sales with Dropshipping is a B2B content marketing example I did for Oberlo. I created the ebook to help more store owners master ecommerce marketing. The ebook doesn’t explicitly tell you to sign up for Oberlo. However, some people did sign up for Oberlo after reading it. The goal of the ebook wasn’t to get new store owners. Instead, the goal was to help the customers we already have. The 70,000 word ebook is a free resource that anyone can read. If your content is accessible, it can have a bigger impact. If you found the ebook helpful, feel free to upvote it on Product Hunt.
Luxy Hair’s YouTube channel is a content marketing example for ecommerce. The brand sells hair extensions on their online store. Their YouTube channel might mention their hair extensions but it doesn’t go on about why you should buy it. Instead, they share hair tutorials on how to style your hair with hair extensions. They provide value by educating their customers on how to style their hair in various ways. They’ve amassed over 3.1 million subscribers to their channel.
Tortuga Backpacks is an ecommerce store that serves as a great example for those looking to start a blog. Their blog centers around travel as their primary customers tend to be travellers. Tortuga Backpacks shows you don’t need to start a blog in your exact niche, find a niche that’s relevant to your customers. Their blog is packed with long form content and countless articles.
Marc Jacobs is an online retailer who creates lookbooks that you can use as an example if you’re in the fashion niche. Your lookbooks can include lifestyle photos of your apparel, some copy to tell your season’s story, and videos such as behind the scenes footage. If you’re dropshipping, you can use influencer or customer photos for your lookbook (but make sure you have permission first).
Lululemon takes their content offline by hosting events in the community. They’ll take part in festivals and host local yoga events abroad. It’s more personal as it helps humanize the brand. However, it’s this extra effort that helps build stronger customer relationships. If you’re on a budget, you can livestream events such as workshops to provide value without having to book a space.
Deluxe Letter Boards is a store I built for a case study. Unique pictures were created for social media. I created funny quote graphics using dollar store items and my product. Creating your own graphics is a form of ecommerce content marketing you can try. The best part is that by creating my own images, I got my content reposted by other brands in my niche. I even had Pop Sugar feature one of my pictures in one of their articles. So, creating content can help drive more traffic to your website and even land you a few sales.
5 Content Marketing Tools to Check Out
Buzzsumo is the perfect content marketing tool you’ll want to use to find out what your competitor’s most popular posts are. You can choose to find best performing social articles a number of ways. You can add ‘author: [name]’ to find out what the most viral articles are for certain authors. Or you can add a website url to find out what the best blog posts are for certain websites. If you’re working on creating blog content and what to stick to topics that are proven, this database will show you what a killer piece of content looks like. You’ll be able to see how much engagement the post received on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and the number of links it received.
Headline Analyzer is a content tool that needs to be used regularly. What hooks people into reading an article? The headline. And if it sucks, no one’s going to read your content. Try out several headlines. Eventually, you’ll find a headline that works best. Unfortunately, you might land on a headline that doesn’t score high. It could still convert well. I like this tool because it forces me to keep trying out different titles until I come up with something great.
Buffer is a social media marketing automation tool that allows you to schedule your content at specific times. If you’d like your blog posts scheduled in a different time zone or after work hours, you won’t need to wait around to post it at those times. Fortunately, with Buffer, you can post at the times that work best for you. You can add up to 10 posts at a time using their free account.
Hemingway Editor is a free editor tool that also tells you your readability score. The lower the grade (closer to 1) your content is the easier it is to read. If you have an international audience, English might not be their first language. Aim for a reading level of 6-8 to ensure an international audience can understand your content. Plus, if you need help with grammatical fixes, this tool can let you know how you can create better sentences.
Canva is a content marketing tool for visual driven content. Need to create an infographic? Want to create a thumbnail for your YouTube channel? Or maybe create quote graphics for your blog post? You can use Canva to do that for free. If you add their free graphics, you can create some pretty great designs without making a dent in your budget. If you have some money to spare, you can buy graphics for $1 a piece.
Content marketing has proven that it powerfully grows traffic and sales. If you’re planning to run your store for the long haul, a content strategy will help you build your growth over time. It can seem overwhelming to create content regularly. Fortunately, you can use some content marketing tools to help you out. Be patient. Content marketing results are worth the wait.
Want to learn more?
- What is a Podcast?
- Infographic Makers: 6 Tools You Should Know
- Ecommerce Blogging: Everything You Should Know
- 20 Best Free Video Editing Software Programs
You’ve now learned what is content marketing, what’s the first piece of content you want to create? Comment below!