Creating a content marketing strategy is a one-time job. But finding and fixing gaps to keep it effective and result driving, requires ongoing observation of trends, competitors, analytics and user experience.
In this post, I’ll share five major but overlooked eCommerce content marketing gaps that are keeping your business behind from what it can actually achieve.
By filling these gaps, you can make your eCommerce content marketing strategy not just more effective but also drive more ROI in the long run.
1. No Story Behind the Business
You have been doing a lot of back-office work to establish a well-oiled legit eCommerce store. You invested your time and money and sacrificed emotions. What encourages you to do all these though administration continuously? It may be a passion or a dream or a CAUSE or an ego hurt. All of these give an emotional connection to the things you’d decided to establish.
It means there is an interesting untold story behind why you have decided to be an online merchant and not something else. But in most of the cases, these stories stay secret or in the personal diary forever.
You may have heard the phrase:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
This is the idea behind the Golden Circle Model presented by Simon Sinek, author of the best-selling book Start With Why.
The Golden Circle talks about an inside-out approach to marketing. It starts with WHY — the story behind your business.
An engaging story that describes your business origins is imperative. It can help:
- Your eCommerce store stand out from your competitors
- Your prospects make sense of decisions — to decide on a needed product or service or making a purchase
- You create various types of content that align to one core message
A genuine, well-worded story draws the attention of customers. It can be appealing to your target audience, keeps you motivated, and helps ensure that your message is heard.
The science behind this is that it’s far easier to remember stories than cold, hard facts. This is because the human brain does not distinguish between reading a story and experiencing it in real life. In both cases, the same neurological regions are activated.
Now, Let’s Find Your Business Story
- Define your brand by identifying:
- The market needs you are addressing. What do you offer?
- A differentiator. Why is your brand different?
- Understand your customers’ deeper interests to align your branding with. This means knowing what your target audience wants out of life, their goals, challenges, dreams, and aspirations. You will need to prepare an in-depth profile of your customers.
- Identify your story hook. The hook is an overarching theme that governs your entire story. It’s a representation of what your brand is and stands for.
Look into the overlap between what your brand offers, what makes it different, and what your target market wants. That’s where you’ll find your business story hook.
I am going to share one eCommerce business story to help you come up with your own unique one:
Beardbrand has built its core values to provide the tools necessary for men to feel confident about growing their beards. They also want to change the way society views men with beards. Their mission is to foster confidence through grooming by bringing high-quality products that give men a positive experience with their beards.
- What Beardbrand Does: Selling beard grooming products.
- What Beardbrand Customers Want: To grow beards with the tools needed to wear facial hair in the office, at home, and around their friends with confidence.
- What Makes Beardbrand Different: Beardbrand only sell products they personally believe in.
- The Hook: “Keep on growing”. Beardbrand is about helping you grow as an individual and become a better man.
Let’s see how they have incorporated this story into the business.
How to Incorporate Your Story to Your eCommerce Business
Beardbrand offers beard, hair, and body cosmetic products made from natural ingredients to wear facial hair in the office, at home, and around friends with confidence.
For content, they create a whole bunch of fun and engaging educational videos. They also create other forms of content i.e. blog posts, guides, and helpful articles.
Now, think back to Golden Circle. Starting with why.
All of their content and storytelling circles back to this purpose.
Let’s look at one piece of content and see how they did with their storytelling.
They created this blog post: 25 Expert Hair Care Tips for Men: How to Take Care of Your Hair
Right from the title, you can tell what the conflict is — men hair care. Their target audience can instantly relate.
Let’s dig deeper. Who is the character in this blog post?
From the title, it’s apparent that the main character will be the reader (since it’s about caring for YOUR hair).
As you’ll see, Beardbrand will continue to use this point of view throughout the blog post. And finally, the blog post provides the resolution: 25 expert hair care tips for men.
The story is clear and concise and ties back to their purpose — building men’s confidence about growing their beards.
Beardbrand does a great job at storytelling, and now it’s your turn.
2. Doing Content Marketing Just for the Sake of It
You know content marketing is a must today. The question is, is all your content production meaningful and strategic?
According to Content Marketing Institute, only 5% of B2C marketers consider their content marketing efforts to be “very effective”.
Here is a comparison between hit-or-miss content marketing vs effective content marketing that works:
|Hit-Or-Miss Content Marketing||Effective Content Marketing|
|• Have no content marketing strategy|
• Creating content abruptly without planning
• Writing for the wrong audience
• Continuously publishing content of one format
• Creating seasonal content which doesn’t really boost sales
• Not promoting content effectively and consistently
• Not being creative on social media
• Having unrealistic expectations
• Ignoring analytics
• Ignoring SEO
• Investing a small amount in content creation, thus skimping on quality
|• Having a documented content marketing strategy|
• Investing enough time into planning
• Writing for a clearly defined audience
• Publishing only content that resonates with your exact audience
• Creating seasonal content that boosts sales
• Promoting content aggressively
• Leveraging social media creatively
• Having reasonable goals and metrics
• Finding and fixing the gaps using analytics
• Keeping SEO in mind
• Focusing on quality, not quantity
Good content marketing is based on a solid strategy and gives a tangible ROI. Take a look at the potential of content marketing for eCommerce business.
- 70% of people would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post rather than from a traditional advertisement. (Demand Metric)
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric)
- On average, content marketing costs 41% less than paid search. (Kapost/Eloqua)
So, content marketing can grow your eCommerce business if you religiously create and promote valuable content.
Here’s the Kicker:
- Decide a SMART goal for your content marketing. It will be the foundation of your eCommerce content marketing strategy.
- Create a business story.
- Appoint a content marketing specialist who oversees content marketing strategy and keeps refining it.
- Prepare an editorial process to come up with ideas consistently.
- Assign topic ideas to niche expert writers to craft exclusive and valuable pieces of content.
- Optimize it for readers and search engines.
- Schedule publishing and be ready with a promotion plan.
- Keep an eye on analytics. Observe, improve and repeat.
The ball is in your court now.
CTA: Save your time and resources by hiring The 20 Media for eCommerce content marketing to scale your business.
3. Overlooking International Visitors
Your website gets visits from different countries. It means people around the world are looking for the products you are selling.
But many of them may not be good at English, or can’t figure out the price in a foreign currency, or might not be able to find the local payment method, and so on.
Because of any of these reasons, you are losing sales from your hard-earned traffic.
This is crazy:
In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022.
It sounds like a big opportunity, doesn’t it?
Here’s the Deal:
You need to localize your eCommerce website experience for international visitors:
- Plan for making your website multilingual for the top 3 countries your website is getting visits from.
- Include the currency change feature.
- Display appropriate shipping and delivery options.
- Accept localized payment methods.
- Optimize site content for local search engines.
- Provide market-specific customer care.
If you follow the above guidelines, then I’m sure you’ll be among those 5% B2C marketers who consider their content marketing efforts to be “very effective”.
Let’s move to the next eCommerce marketing gap.
4. Publishing Only 1 to 2 Types of Content
I understand that it may not be possible to create ten different types of content with a small content creation team. However, you don’t want to limit yourself to just blog posts.
So, consider creating content that reaches different audiences. According to Content Marketing Institute, there are 69% B2C marketers have increased the use of Audio/Visual content format, and 63% B2C marketers have increased the use of the Image format content compared with one year ago.
What’s the bottom line?
You should try other content formats as well that fit in your budget. The scatter chart below will help you figure out the most effective yet affordable content formats to adopt.
How to Add New Content Formats to Your Content Marketing Strategy:
- Check competitors content marketing efforts. Prepare a list of types of content they are creating by saving sample content URLs.
- Check out the effectiveness of each of them. Use tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush to figure out how much relevant traffic they are acquiring.
- Figure out 4 best formats. Finalize 1 or 2 new content formats that work best for the competitors.
- Allocate budget, make a process, hire a creative expert, start scheduling.
- Promote, promote, promote.
- Monitor the performance. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
If you haven’t already, consider User Generated Content (UGC) as an indispensable part of your eCommerce content marketing strategy. In the content marketing world, UGC refers to product reviews, ratings or comments on the website’s product page written by the users and customers.
Benefits: No cost, adds value to your product page, social proof, and most importantly, Google loves it.
Amazon has the following product page for KitchenAid mixer with 1,839 words excluding reviews and questions.
At the time of writing this blog post, there are 78 reviews and 56 questions answered.
There’s so much valuable content on this page! This is the power of UGC.
In a nutshell, use UGC in your eCommerce store. It will boost both visibility in search engines and sales.
5. Not Collaborating with Micro-Influencers
What if an influential person with a fairly huge network of thousands of engaging fans mentions your product or brand in their post? That post is bound to get hundreds of likes and shares.
This, in turn, will boost your sales and spread word of mouth about your product or brand. The TapInfluence study found that influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. In fact, Forbes says micro-influencers are the marketing force of the future. Blah blah blah…
Let’s consider this example:
Ana Maria Klizs has been creating and sharing content related to lifestyle for years. She has built an engaging community of 150K fans who are interested in the content she shares on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blog.
Downy, a fabric softener and sheets dryer store collaborated with Ana Maria to share her experience of Downy’s Fabric Softener on her personal blog, Instagram profile, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter Profile, and Pinterest.
View this post on Instagram
✨GIVEAWAY ALERT! ✨Have you guys ever been to a kids’ clothing SWAP party? I hosted one a few days ago and it was so much fun, plus it’s so good for the environment – check out the blog post I just wrote about it (link above). I partnered with @downy Fabric Conditioner to throw my party, because it helps clothes last longer. Which means my kids’ clothes stay in great condition while they fit, and when they outgrow them there are still look good so I can feel good about swapping them with other families. So now I want to share this amazing experience with all of you! I’m giving away TWO #HandMeDowny Swap Kits (valued at $150) for those who want to host their own party. #ad All you need to do to enter is: (1) tag friends in the comment section together with your favourite clothing emoji – one tag equals one entry so use separate lines Downy is also offering $2-off coupons for you as well. Grab yours here: http://bit.ly/2IcBvhr #sustainability GOOD LUCK!!! I’ll message the winner via DM on Friday! ** this contest is not in any way sponsored, endorsed or administers by Instagram or Downy and by entering this contest you agree to release Instagram of any liability *partner
Yes, it is not free 😉
The engagement is pretty good, right? Similarly, you can find that countless other brands have driven successful marketing campaigns with micro-influencers.
Tip: Micro-influencers are not just the ones you see on Instagram or YouTube. Bloggers, podcasters, and forum contributors who have built a highly engaging niche-specific fan-base are micro-influencers too.
The best part? It is affordable and businesses of all sizes can likely afford to invest in it.
Follow the Steps to Start Collaboration with Micro-Influencers:
- Find and list down the potential representative profiles on your own social media channels.
- Review the profiles and consider those who are interested in telling your brand’s story and are already talking about it.
- Start building a relationship by following them back, appreciating their content, and engaging often (with likes, shares, and comments).
- Send a direct message for marketing campaign collaboration.
Collaborations such as:
- Appointing them as a social media marketer for a fixed period of time.
- Sending products to sample and take photos to post on their social media accounts.
- Asking them to create content for your social media channels such as videos and blog posts.
Simple? Yes. Easy? No. So, start rushing…
There are a million reasons why content marketing is not working for you. But if you correct the basics, you’re well on your way to reap the amazing rewards of content marketing — higher site traffic, brand visibility, and of course, sales!
By sharing the above 5 eCommerce content marketing gaps with solutions, I’m convinced that 90% of the online stores can use content marketing better than how they are using right now.
So, put on your strategic mojo, and start to ramp it up.
And please, have fun!
(Image Source: TheKeenFolks)
Shahid Abbasi is a Senior SEO and Content Marketing Analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.