Apr 6, 2015 3:30:00 PM

4 Ways Content Marketing Drives Ecommerce Sales

Posted by Lauren Totin

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Looking to grow your leads, expand your reach and build rapport with your customers? Content marketing is a tool that every ecommerce retailer stands to benefit from. Here, we’ll look at 4 ways content marketing can help you drive more sales.

1. Attract New Customers & Build Relationships

Retailers can use content to bring new customers into the fold. This is often misinterpreted; retailers publish all sorts of sales-y content like coupons or special offers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

At the core of every purchase is a problem that needs solving; a need that needs to be met. Customers are multi-dimensional people, not point-of-sale drones. So, when a brand has carefully defined their customers into personas, they can better understand their underlying needs and build content to match.

Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com is an fantastic example of this.

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The BabyCenter is a content hub for new parents and expecting mothers. Here, they find expert advice, compelling stories they relate to and an enormous archive of useful information to peruse. Tied into all this useful content is Johnson & Johnson’s product line – but the focus isn’t on the immediate sale.

Instead, the focus is on positioning Johnson & Johnson as an empathetic information source, with products that answer the questions their customers face.

Mountain Dew’s Green-Label.com is branded as the “Intersection of Skate, Music and Art”:

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All of the content here is geared towards their target audience and has absolutely nothing to do with soft drinks. Instead, Mountain Dew acts as a content curator, demonstrating their brand personality and engaging with their target market by giving them exactly the kind of information they want to consume.

One last example is Urban Outfitters. The blog mixes engaging content with transparency-building pieces like “Employee of the Month”, before sprinkling in sales and promotions. It’s a slick package that doesn’t feel pushy and delights customers.3

 

2. Build Trust in Your Brand & Your Products

Your customers are already researching your brand and listening in on the chatter that surrounds your industry. 71% don’t trust a brand that doesn’t provide promotion-free information, while 83% trust brands that offer resources to help them at every stage of the buying cycle (Source).

A recent report from About.com found that consumers found companies who used social media and content marketing more trustworthy than their competition. Content marketing can help you build trust with your customers and make them more likely to buy from you than your competitors.

So how can you build trust in your brand with content marketing?

  1. Show reviews! 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations (Source: Local Consumer Review Survey) . Reviews are user-generated content that allows customers to see how people just like them rated your products. REI.com does an excellent job of incorporating reviews right into their product pages:

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  1. Address issues & communicate transparently. Use your content (including your blog) to communicate with customers and address the conversations being had about your blog. One great example is Lululemon. When crisis struck and faulty products had been shipped out, Lululemon used their blog to communicate with customers and show them they were fixing the problem. That communication helped to restore the trust needed to drive future sales.

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3. Nurture Your Leads

Customers aren’t always ready to buy right away – in fact, 45% of American online shoppers abandon multiple shopping carts every month. You can use content marketing to recapture these leads and turn them into sales.

One great example of using content marketing to foster a lead is an e-mail drip campaigns. These are automated, scheduled e-mail campaigns sent to prospects, giving them helpful, pertinent information that will help to drive a buying decision. E-mail drips can be used to train customers, promote products, provide information or generate useful feedback.

For example, CopyHackers uses an e-mail drip campaign to foster new sign-ups for their online newsletter and drive sales for their eBooks.

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4. Expand Your Visibility

If you’re looking for a way to improve your online visibility, well-targeted content can play a role. Producing content can be a means of targeting those elusive keyword phrases you would like to come up for in search engines.

These needn’t just be product keywords; they can be phrases surrounding pivotal times of year, questions your customers might have or other long-tail phrases customers may search as they enter the buying cycle.

Staples has done an excellent job of leveraging their blog to target long-tail keywords and educate customers at the same time:

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But it’s not just about search engines. Created content can be dispersed around the internet to popular blogs and media outlets, putting your brand in front of prospective customers.

For example, online shoe retailer Beckett Simonon created an infographic that was linked to from around the web, driving customers back to their website and creating brand equity.

Content Marketing: A Critical Tool

Content marketing can be a powerful tool to help you attract customers, build credibility, nurture your leads and expand your reach. But given the trends, it’s less of a novelty and more of a critical strategy for your ecommerce business.

Gone are the days where online retailers could simply count on great rankings to earn them customers – and frankly, that’s a good thing. As ecommerce businesses get switched on to the power of content marketing, everyone benefits.

Have you used content marketing to boost your bottom line? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Topics: Content Creation, Lead Management, Lead Generation

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