A big problem for any eCommerce business is choosing how to handle marketing. Content marketing can be applied in many ways, but the question is how to handle it so that you get the best outcome. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to outsource the process to an agency or create your own in-house team.
It’s best to start working on the details of your strategy only after you’ve decided on the team that you are going to work with. It’s important to keep the goals in mind, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the team when planning.
Check out the other articles on our blog to learn more about content marketing so that you’ll know how to craft the best strategy possible. Now, let’s take a look at your options and see which one is best for you.
Benefits of in-house content marketing
In-house is generally an option only for bigger companies. That’s because they require bigger marketing campaigns, and hiring a group of people to handle that is justifiable.
A little side note: whether it’s in-house or outsourced, you really shouldn’t have just one person handling it all, no matter the size of your company. Don’t forget that you need constant content and management for the blog and all your social media accounts.
Also, in a team, mistakes are much easier to spot. If it’s a single person, there’s a higher chance that the campaign will end up badly. You should have at least two people working on your campaign. You know what they say: two heads are better than one.
1.Knowledge of the company
Getting back to the point, you’d think that someone who works for the company knows that company better than anyone else, right? That’s very important in content marketing, since the better someone knows the company, the better the message they deliver through content will be. Companies often fear that an agency will not understand their goals and story well.
That’s obviously not always the case. They can be the CEO of the company, if they’re bad at marketing, then they’re not going to be able to represent it well. Choosing talented individuals who know what they’re doing will always be more important since knowledge of the company is something that is easier to improve.
One of the biggest advantages of having an in-house team is the focus that they will have. They don’t have several clients like agencies do, so they can focus all their attention on the company’s website. They should know the site and their audience better than an agency. They’re also experts on the products that the company markets, and all this should make content marketing much easier to handle.
Another advantage is that the team will always be easy to contact and you can rest assured knowing they’ll answer fast. With agencies, that’s not always the case, although it should be. Calling Johnny, the marketing manager, and telling him your new idea will probably be a lot faster than sending an email to an agency and waiting for an answer.
Now, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
Benefits of outsourcing to an agency
It doesn’t necessarily have to be an agency, it can also be a freelancer, but I already told you what’s the problem with that. Freelancers usually handle multiple clients at the same time which can translate into lack of focus. It’s best to choose a team when outsourcing content.
1. It’s cost-efficient
The most glaring issue with in-house teams, in my opinion, is the money aspect. That’s why I said earlier that it’s a better approach for bigger companies, since they have more money to invest.
Having a whole marketing team on the payroll can prove detrimental to the interest of the company, especially if the campaign you’re planning isn’t particularly lengthy or complicated. You risk ending up paying people to do little work and not getting your money’s worth.
On the other hand, agencies are up-front about what you have to give and what you get in return. You can spend just the money you can afford, which is often less than what you would pay for an in-house team. More important, you’ll get exactly what you asked for.
2. And time-effective
Time management is a problem that you’ll have regardless of your choice. If you want the campaign to work well, you’ll have to pay attention to the planning and execution of every single aspect. You’ll have to attend meetings and give feedback. In-house teams will depend more on your guidance and ideas. This can work out wonderfully, but only if you invest a lot of time. Otherwise, you shouldn’t even try.
If you outsource to an agency, you save a lot of time.
It’s much faster to choose the right agency than it is to build your own team from scratch. There are generally more people working for an agency than you can probably afford to pay on an in-house team, so they have no trouble coming up with new ideas. You won’t have to pay as much attention to an agency, but you can still ensure that the campaign will be a success.
In-house teams will need a lot more feedback and advice from you, especially at the beginning. You’ll have to do a big part of the job until the in-house team gets the hang of it and starts working efficiently without you constantly having to be there.
That really slows down the whole process and eats up your time. You have your own tasks and your own problems to handle. A good agency will just need some information about the company and constant feedback from you to do its job well.
3. More experience
While the in-house team is more focused, the agency almost always has more experience. They know how and where to share the content in order to achieve the best results. Your site might be full of great content, but that doesn’t mean much if people will never get to see it, right?
4. SEO and effective lead generation
Good agencies are great at optimizing their content for search engines, which is a must. They will also be in the loop when it comes to new ways of attracting more leads. After all, that’s their bread and butter. There is also no reason why the content would be worse if created by an agency.
If you’re not pleased with the content an agency creates for you, it’s because they’re not right for you.
In order to make an informed decision, you’ll have to do more than take this article to heart. Think about the project and the strain that it can put on your company. See who would be up for the job and try to estimate how much work will be needed. Agencies are almost always the safer bet.
There are still a lot of aspects to talk about regarding this decision. We also made an article about how an agency can supercharge eCommerce strategies and help grow your sales. Be sure to read that too so you’ll be able to make the best decision when it will be time to choose.
If you have an eCommerce website and don’t know how to get started with content marketing, you came to the right place.
I’m here to help you, and I’ve decided to break down the whole process into 7 ways that I’ll explain as you keep on reading.
If you are still not certain about content marketing, you should read this article to find out more about Magento’s success and how they’re using content marketing.
1. Set your goals
Before you even start planning, it’s important to know exactly what you want to get out of the whole process. You’ll see that it gives you direction and that it’s much easier to come up with ideas when you have a clear goal in mind.
If you don’t state what you want at the very beginning, chances are the whole campaign will be too confusing. You really want to avoid that because whatever your goal may be, you won’t reach it with an ineffective campaign.
I suggest setting up some measures of success and benchmarks.
Not only is it good to stay organized and focused, but you’ll also be able to see the results of the strategy and how the process is coming along much better.
For example, if you’ve checked your analytics and you’ve noticed that you don’t get much traffic to your website, which we all know is essential if you want to improve sales, then one of your goals will be attracting targeted traffic to your website.
On the other hand, if you manage to bring a lot of traffic to your website, but your bounce rate is high, then you should focus on converting the traffic you’re already getting.
2. Research the audience
You won’t get anywhere trying to cater to everybody, and you shouldn’t try to either.
Get to know your target audience, and find out what they like and dislike.
For instance, if your eCommerce website primarily sells clothes, your audience is probably interested in fashion and that’s what you should talk about.
This is just a made-up example, but I really can’t stress enough how important it is to know who you’re catering to.
Determine who your buyer personas are.
Go as in-depth as possible when creating these personas. It may not seem so, but the more details you give them, the better the audience will respond.
Obviously, you don’t want to deviate too much from the basis and end up with unreal characters. Accuracy is still important.
Base your buyer personas on data you have about the customers who already bought from you, and find correlations between the products they bought and the interests they have.
3. Find the voice of the eCommerce website
A great pitfall that dooms many strategies to fail is the thought that if someone used a certain style, you should do it too.
Originality is quintessential in content marketing.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to come up with some weird gimmick.
It just means you should be yourself. The company shouldn’t try to be something it isn’t, and it absolutely shouldn’t copy other brands as well.
One of the biggest problems a lot of eCommerce websites have, and they don’t even realize this, is the product descriptions. The products you sell should stand out even if other websites are selling them.
Product descriptions should be unique to your website, as should all the content you create.
I’m imagining that the reason you chose to use content marketing is to show that your business is different. This is why it’s important to decide on the aspect of your business that only you have and show it to the world.
This is also a good idea from an SEO perspective. Having the same description everyone else has won’t bring you closer to reaching the first page when it comes to rankings, as your content will show up as a duplicate.
4. Offer value to your readers
Now that you know what will make your content special, you have to decide what you’re going to publish, namely the message itself.
Sometimes, the lack of knowledge could even deter leads from buying certain products.
However, the benefits your business will gain from creating insightful content won’t become apparent immediately. By informing your clients, you don’t necessarily get them to buy something. Instead, you gain their trust.
When they’ll want to do business, they’ll come to you because they know you care about them and that you’re out to help them, not make as much money as possible.
The type of material you’re going to distribute is entirely up to you. Think of all your options and pick the one you think will be the best.
I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be afraid to give.
You have much more to gain by helping others.
5. Decide when and where you publish
This has less to do with how much impact your content will have, and more to do with how much you are willing to invest in the campaign.
You can choose to have a blog right on your website or you could make a separate one. Both options offer different advantages.
The blog is more accessible to clients if it’s on your website though, but it could also get more attention if it stands on its own. You’ll obviously want links between them if you’re keeping them separate.
There are also social media accounts that need to be considered. You’ll want to have a foothold on all social media networks, but first you’ll need to do your research to find out where the majority of the decision makers in your industry are.
It’s better to focus more on the network where most of your audience is.
6. Decide between having an in-house team and outsourcing
This is a very important part of the strategy, so if you want to find out more about the subject read my comparison on In-house vs. Outsourcing content.
To give a short answer, in-house teams require management, while agencies are more independent. The cost can vary, but when you go with an agency, you know exactly how much it’s going to cost you from the very beginning.
In my opinion, the safer bet is outsourcing, but that doesn’t mean that just any agency will do. You need to make the right decision in order to get the best results.
7. Creating a content amplification plan
When the strategy works well, the next logical step is upping the ante.
There is no real threat of painting yourself into a corner, so to speak, so don’t worry about that. The reason you should think of expanding is strictly about the advantages.
It’s much easier for eCommerce websites to become respectable media outlets than it is for other industries.
People come to your website not just for products or tips on how to be smart buyers, but to also find out about the latest trends, and to listen to you when they need to decide what they should buy.
Few companies get to this point, but then again, few companies actually use content marketing to its full extent. Just make sure you’re one of those few companies.
Those would be the steps, folks. I hope that they will serve as helpful guidelines for your upcoming content marketing strategies.