We’ve previously discussed the subject of ads while talking about content marketing strategies for your eCommerce business. Today, I’m going to get into why ads are just a short-term solution for eCommerce websites. What’s more, that isn’t even the only downside.
Ads have been around for a long time, but they have lost some of their popularity in recent years. I personally think that things are going as they should. I doubt that ads are going to disappear anytime soon, but now we have better ways to handle marketing.
Here are some solid arguments why ads aren’t a long-term strategy:
They don’t encourage customers to be loyal
I admit that there are a lot of things to think about when making a social media ad campaign, but, in the end, the target audience experiences the same thing: They’re told square in the face that they should buy something. And that’s it.
Most people will just shrug and ignore the message. For those who were thinking about making a purchase, it might be the push that actually makes them buy, but that’s about it.
Even though some will buy, don’t expect them to care about the company after they make the purchase.
The only way they will ever think about that website again is if the product was extremely good, which doesn’t have anything to do with the ads.
Afterward, they’ll still be invested and there’s a good chance they will want to buy again in the future, or, at the very least, tell others about your brand. Ads don’t work that way. They just ask people to buy.
In case you’re wondering how content can make your brand more memorable. They’ll give you all the answers you need.
That means that when your eCommerce website stops paying for the ads, the people they were bringing in will stop coming. That leads to our next point.
Ads are fairly expensive
If you ever checked Google to see how much social media ads cost, you probably thought “Wow, that’s pretty cheap”. Yeah, it would be if the competition for certain demographics wasn’t so high.
In reality, you end up spending quite a lot. Plus, the results might not even be that spectacular.
If that’s the case, you’re just wasting your time because you’re not making much money, and your brand isn’t growing in any meaningful way either.
The positive aspect is that it takes very little time, especially when compared to content marketing. Even so, I think that it’s not worth it.
If you really want to use social media ads, don’t completely rely on them. They should be part of a strategy, not the strategy itself.
Content marketing, on the other hand, has a better return on investment as it requires less money and the effect of a successful campaign, besides lasting much longer, can bring even more sales.
Always calculate how much money you put into ads and how much the customers coming from those ads actually spend on your online store.
It goes against the idea of social media
No one is saying that companies should stay away from social media. Quite the opposite.
The thing is that people come on social media to unwind, start discussions and connect with others, not to buy something.
Ads just take people by surprise and urge them to spend money when all they want to do is talk to friends or tell others about their day.
The public generally dislikes ads because they are disruptive. Maybe they’re helpful for some, but, in most cases, they’re just a distraction. If someone will remember the name of the company that posted the ads, they will most likely not have a good opinion about them.
Content, on the other hand, is a welcome sight for users, since it gives them the option to choose when to look over the information. It’s supposed to be interesting and provide useful knowledge to the people who read it.
But that doesn’t mean that content doesn’t encourage them to buy. It generally has calls to action. The difference is that ads are just calls to action.
Ads only promote the products, not the eCommerce website
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but I want to make sure that you fully understand the implications of this fact. Just promoting your products does lead to sales, but that’s about it. Ideally, you want people to remember your website as well.
You may attract one-time clients this way, but next time they want to buy something, there is no guarantee they’ll come back to your website. They might see an ad for a different website and go there instead.
It’s important to promote your brand and make it as recognizable and as memorable as possible.
Think of any huge company. Their brand is immediately recognizable. People know about their business even if they have no interest in the company itself.
Ads don’t help with this at all. Your website and brand don’t evolve in any real way with ads. They just keep being average.
The bottom line is this: Ads aren’t a long-term solution because all they do is boost sales only on the short-term while the lifetime value of a customer will remain very low. That’s simply not enough. A business should always try to grow.
For that, you’ll need a way to keep your clients invested and make your brand well-known. Ads only boost profits, but those profits should be invested in a marketing strategy that also focuses on long-term results.
The company that is paying for ads can use other strategies to get better results, and that goes double for eCommerce websites because of the huge competition on the market.
Social media networks are turning people away with ads. People don’t want to read ads, since they have better things to do, and they also don’t like being treated like walking wallets.
If you agree with me, and are interested in coming up with a content marketing strategy for your own eCommerce business, I suggest you take a look at this article.
I know it can be tough, especially in the beginning, but the end results will be worth it. Having just a little bit of information can go a long way, so imagine what 7 well-explained steps can do for you.
If you work in eCommerce, this article is right up your alley. There’s no denying that content marketing has become the norm when it comes to how businesses promote their brands.
Businesses like yours have the most to gain from using this digital marketing strategy, as generating interest and attracting more visitors to websites are two of its major strong points.
Ecommerce strategies need careful planning, since owning a site is very different than owning a real life store. Therefore, using the same marketing tactics is not a good option. No one will see your website walking on their way home.
The chances of someone stumbling upon your site are very small. If you’d try to see the internet as a road, you’d come to the conclusion that it’s a pretty long one.
That means that if you want a constant influx of clients, you’ll have to invest in advertising. Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t as effective now, not when there are so many cat videos that distract everybody. That’s a serious problem, because lack of promotion is the number one reason why these types of sites usually fail. Take a look at a few reasons why you might want to give this type of marketing a try.
The Content is Long-Lasting and Can Be Reused
Content marketing is about creating interest through, you’ve guessed it, content. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t expire like, let’s say, ads.
Now imagine providing great content several times a week. Not only will you attract a constant stream of new people, but they will also want to spend more time on your site.
Having a blog combined with social media posts can help you further explain to people why they should buy your products.
Also, articles about topics related to your products are a great way to keep people invested. After all, visitors won’t be in a buying mood all the time, but they could still be interested in the subject.
The truth is that you can’t expect everyone who shows interest to buy something from you. However, you shouldn’t think of those people as being less important. They have friends, and if they like you enough, they might tell those friends about you, and maybe they will make a purchase. It’s called free publicity.
The best part is that once the content is created and published, it’s not necessarily the end of its journey. If, for example, the topic of an older article becomes relevant or important again, the article can be republished after making a few changes or additions. If you’re lucky, the changes won’t even be necessary.
The Search Engine Optimization Software
SEO, for short, is an invaluable aspect that helps content marketing agencies get as many people as possible to see their content. The Squirrly SEO plugin offers guidelines and ideas on how to create content that will be relevant and easy to find for people who are searching for something related to the topic.
Let’s say that your job is to sell clothes on the internet.
An agency could create content about clothes or fashion to match your eCommerce strategies. When people will search for those keywords, they’ll find the content which will have a link to your site. If people like it, then they will probably click on the link and go to your site, thus greatly increasing your website traffic.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand, and together they deliver the best results for business growth. High search results rankings will help you stay one move ahead of your major competitors, so being successful when it comes to organic search is essential.
Becoming a Trusted Source of Information
As you might imagine, people generally do a bit of research on a product before buying. Moreover, many decide to buy products based on what they see on the internet.
If a business would have the means to guide and inform people about what they should own, selling products would be a breeze.
For example, fashionistas who want to be up-to-date with the latest trends and look their best are always interested in reading magazines and blogs about fashion and clothing.
This can easily be applied to eCommerce strategies. It goes without saying that sites in the fashion industry would greatly benefit from using blogs and magazines created by marketing agencies to engage with their audiences. If they are consistent with their content marketing efforts, these sites wouldn’t just be riding the wave, they’d be the ones making the waves in the first place.
Ecommerce Strategies using Content Marketing: An Example of Success
To get a better idea on how much success an eCommerce company can achieve using content marketing, look no further than the retail clothing company Betabrand.
Their key to success is quite simple: They’re just being themselves. Betabrand didn’t try to act like something they’re not.
The company bills itself as 99% fiction, 1% fashion.
The fun and quirky content posted on their site and their unique way of promoting themselves have attracted the attention of many. You’re not generally looking for a laugh when browsing for new pants, but they provide it nevertheless, and it turned out to be a great idea.
Betabrand can’t produce large quantities of clothes, so they chose a different route: sell just a few items, but make them wildly different from just about anything else. When buying something from them, you’re not just getting something to wear, you’re also getting a boost of personality. Personality is something they seem to have in spades, considering they release a new product every week in limited quantity.
The company is very active and always interacts with the community they built online. They even crowd-source ideas for new clothes. This way, they managed to build a great image for themselves. Consumer and prospects see the company as a fun and creative friend rather than some boring vendor.
The image turned out to be very beneficial for the company, as people are rushing to buy their products despite the prices.
Betabrand is just one of the many companies that made it big by harnessing the power of content marketing. If you now understand the huge influence content can have on your business, I suggest you start looking for the right agency to represent you.
If need more convincing on why eCommerce and content marketing are a match made in heaven, no problem, you can read more about it on our blog. You’ll be happy you did.
Magento has become the biggest platform for open commerce innovation. They achieved this by involving not only other businesses in their content marketing campaign, but clients as well.
If you want to find out how your eCommerce website can also attain success like them, read on.
Magento didn’t just give content marketing a try, they really committed to it.
Their blog has new content at least once a week, but usually much more often, and the email-based lead nurturing strategy they use is extremely effective.
I’m going to give you a rundown of their way of doing business and give my opinion on the matter. I think it would be useful for you to compare your own eCommerce website with theirs, and see how it can be improved.
The Open Source Platform You Can Use for Your eCommerce Website
Magento didn’t just create a platform, keep the code for themselves and ask for money from those who want to use it like many other companies do.
Instead, they choose to make it open source and free. This is the type of philosophy you should also follow when you create content, give business-related insight, and offer useful information to your audience.
This means that any aspiring programmer can try to outfit the platform with new features and improvements, and that’s exactly what happened.
Furthermore, this has contributed a great deal to their success because they stood out from the crowd as a thought leader, a company that wanted to work together with others to make sure everyone wins.
They actively involve their clients, and their openness and willingness to share information has made them very respected among eCommerce businesses.
The Magento Enterprise edition is an improved version of the core platform. This version isn’t free, but it also has more features and offers better flexibility. With a free version and a paid version, Magento has its cake and eats it too.
A lesson you should learn from Magento’s example is that keeping the secrets of your trade to yourself is not always the best option.
They went the other way, and look how big they are now. Providing valuable information through content to companies and people alike is always a great way to build recognition and showcase your expertise.
Magento became the giant it is today by sharing with others, so make sure your content marketing strategy is built on the same principle.
Confidence in Content Marketing
As I said in the beginning of the article, Magento has a very active blog. I want to make it clear that just posting often doesn’t mean anything. It can even be detrimental.
Sure, you should have new content at least once a week so you keep your audience interested, but if you don’t think you can uphold the quality standards, you should work with an agency.
Quality over Quantity
Magento doesn’t only post often, but they also post high-quality content. From relevant news to useful tips, they make sure that people have a reliable source of material they want to read.
Don’t just think that it’s easy to do it. Sure, the people there might like to write, but you can bet that they invest a lot of time and money in order to keep it up. There are many ways of doing content marketing right, and all of them require dedication.
Content Is King when Distribution Is Queen
Magento is also very active on social media.
That’s not exactly a groundbreaking tactic, but they don’t stop there: Besides providing a lot of content, they also interact with their audience and clients, helping them in every way they can.
Moreover, don’t assume they use social media for tech support, as they have their own forums. It’s just that they don’t turn away clients.
Not enough companies do that. It proves that you care. Since you provide personal content for your audience, what better way to provide it than actually interacting with them?
Try to be just as dedicated to your audience as they are to you, and you’ll see how much your clients will appreciate it.
Make sure that you also spend time with the audience on social media. The company account shouldn’t be just an outlet for content. It should be your best platform on which you communicate with leads and clients.
Nurture Your Community
Further proof that Magento goes the extra mile is the annual conference they organize. At this conference, they share eCommerce ideas and provide networking opportunity sessions.
I realize that most companies can’t just organize an event this big, but I still think you should keep in mind how beneficial it is both for your image and for the attendants because of the insight they gain regarding the industry.
Sending Useful Information via Email
Lastly, I’d like to also talk a bit about their efforts to send personal and useful emails. We’re not talking about your generic “Come see our stuff” emails. They only send messages that they know will be relevant for the people who get them.
Never send soulless spam emails to the people who subscribed to your newsletter. They subscribed so they can get new content and news from you as fast as possible, so don’t bombard them with ads.
What You Should Learn from All This
I know that not everyone has access to all the resources Magento has, but they serve as a great example of how to grow your business and your audience with content marketing. You don’t have to perfectly emulate them, but keep their strategies in mind, since there’s no denying that they work.
Clients like to feel like they matter to you individually and that you think of them as more than just walking wallets.
Show that you value them with your content, and interact with them as much as possible. They’re not faceless leads, and you shouldn’t be a faceless company.
Also, don’t try to copy someone’s style or image. Your eCommerce website is your own and that has to be seen. Use your own unique ideas and messages. Be different from everybody else.
Do some research to find your niche audience, and cater to their specific needs and interests. Then, create content that you would like to see, not what you think will sell best.
I know that this can be a lot to take in all at once and that not everybody has content marketing in their blood. That shouldn’t discourage you though.
After all, you don’t have to do everything on you own. If you want other people to handle content marketing for you, there are two options: Getting your own in-house team of marketers or outsourcing the job to an agency.
This can be a hard decision as each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages. First of all, you need to know the particular needs of your company. Then, you can consider your options and pick the best one. I’ve written an article that will surely help you with this decision, so be sure to check it out.
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.