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.
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.
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.