Content marketing is the latest buzzword. Everyone and their grandmother seems to be in on it.
eCommerce businesses are in the lurch though.
For eCommerce store owners— blogging about their products hasn’t always resulted in the best returns.
Often those blogs gather dust after some spirited attempts. Perhaps, the fault lies in the approach.
In this post we’re going to explore the relationship between content marketing and eCommerce and if they can go hand in hand.
Let’s get started.
Content based on user interest
Sole Bicyles grew their business entirely on the back of content marketing.
The first year in business they sold just 150 bikes in total. In 2014 they did $2.1 million in sales, and in 2016 they sold over 15000 bikes.
How did they do it?
Did they write product reviews on bikes? Guest posts?
In fact these typical methods brought little traction and sometimes negative engagement.
However, they could see the potential for content marketing and knew all the stories about achieving record growth with content marketing. They just didn’t know how to name that potential.
Bike goers weren’t really interested in long-from content on bikes. That’s when they started listening to feedback and tuned into the bikers’ lifestyle. Bikers find content on bikes boring but they loved listening to music when biking.
Mixtapes that they dubbed Fixtapes. They have a dedicated page called Lifestyle for showcasing these mixtapes.
These are customized free mixtapes hosted on Soundcloud. Anybody could download these tapes and listen to them while biking.
It was very valuable content that the target market loved. From no traction, these specific blogging efforts resulted in tremendous popularity for their website. Thanks to the mixtapes they have thousands of new customers.
Sephora a leader in the beauty industry has brought combined makeup with augmented reality to bring its audience a new way to try different lip shades virtually. Called the Sephora virtual Artist the app’s already raking up huge reviews.
How did they come about this idea?
On their facebook page alone they have a 18 million plus fan following. Interaction with this fan base on Facebook and other channels helped them identify a few key problems. Customers always had trouble finding the exact shade of lipstick that matched their lips.
This app is the closest to a solution.
When someone opens the app it automatically uses the front facing camera to capture a photo of the user and applies a virtual lipstick on the user’s lips in the photo.
The virtual replica of the face along with the digital lipstick will remain on the face. Shoppers can then select from a range of different shades from Sephora.
When an item is selected it’s applied over the digital lipstick. A bar displays the name of the product, the brand and its price. And users can purchase these items by clicking on that bar.
Sephora made the app and promoted it through email, text, social media campaigns and other marketing channels making it the front and center of the marketing campaigns.
It has helped a lot of users decide on the colors most apt for them.
Another similar app Wanna Nails lets users compare between different nail polishes in real time through augmented reality.
But, apps aren’t the only way to bring interactivity to the forefront.
A good quiz can go viral and bring you lots of traffic. iHeartDogs regularly uses quizzes to engage visitors. More often than not these go viral and bring scores of new visitors.
Here’s one titled “Which dog breed are you?”
How to get started with content marketing for your own business?
There are a few similarities between the companies we saw in action today. They knew what their customers were struggling with and proceeded to provide a fairly unique solution. Due to its novelty it caught on bringing in thousands of new customers and hundreds of thousands in additional revenue.
So start by figuring out what your customers want.
But how do you figure what your customers want most?
By gathering feedback.
You can get started for free with a simple Google form or use Survey Monkey to start gathering feedback. On websites you can use Qualaroo to gather real-time feedback.
Ask relevant questions regarding the problems customers are facing and features they would love.
Once you get those answers plan your content accordingly. It need not always be textual content. It can be videos, an app, mixtapes or something that nobody has ever seen yet.
Once that’s in place create buzz for your content. Social media influencer marketing everything else.
Writing tomes of pages on a particular can be effective in some niches but it isn’t a solution for everyone. And often it comes nowhere near the immersive experience that other forms of content can provide.
The mantra is: If you can show why tell.
Interactive content formats differ from mobile apps to web apps to interactive videos and ads, quizzes to calculators.
If its interactive content host it on a separate dedicated page. Link to it from the homepage and make the link noticeable.
On other product pages too you can put a link to the content.
Influencers can spread around the word about the content you created. For instance, when Moto Z wanted to create buzz about its new range of products called Moto Z they reached out to YouTube influencers who were then asked to make videos about different use cases of their product.
The results? 11.6 million video views, 38.1 million social impressions. And 80000 first time visitors to their website.
What do you think of the innovative approach that certain eCommerce companies took to content.
Thinking of content as just very long blogposts is a myopic view that stunts growth.