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How to Develop a Top Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy

By David Hoos
6 minute read | Last Updated: September 20, 2018

Don’t be one of those brands that invest in the least relevant audience type. Invest in this audience and improve your content marketing efficacy.

There are three primary audiences that ecommerce content marketing can address. The audience you choose will make or break your content marketing ambitions.

Here are your options:

  • Address in-house management and cater to their preferences
  • Address those who love to read about topics related to your niche
  • Address your best prospects, speak their language, and provide solutions to their problems

The clock is ticking. You can only pick one. Which will it be?

Here’s the truth of the matter: Conduct an impromptu and decidedly unscientific study of the next five brands that catch your attention. Compare the articles on their blog and other web pages with what you know about their best prospects.

Ask these questions:

  • Who is this content aimed at?
  • What is the purpose of the content?
  • Is that person (or group) the most likely buyer of the brand’s products or services?

You’d expect the stars to line up, wouldn’t you? You’d think “Of course that content is going to be concerned exclusively with the best prospects for the brand.”Do the research and take notes. You may come away surprised – even shaken.

If you’ve been struggling to publish content that gets read, shared, and tied directly to sales, the good news is that you’re not alone. Great content requires more than a writer, an editor, and a C-suite wordsmith to watch the gate. Great content springs from great strategy. It needs great ideas. And it always begins with the most important person in ecommerce content marketing:

Your best prospect.

In this article, you’ll get three light-the-fire suggestions to revitalize your content and attract customers like a magnet. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be unstoppable.

Who are you trying to please?

Of the three primary audiences that ecommerce content marketing can address, there’s only one that really counts – so why do brands tend to invest so much time and money on the other two?

Here’s one reason: The organizational structure of the company ends up killing the right content.

The ecommerce manager probably has a firm grip on the target audience and the messaging needed, but the approval process routes it past a cadre of gatekeepers –each with a different agenda and point of view. It’s a common process that ensures what’s approved won’t capture the interest of anyone but management and the avid reader.

Are you ready for change?

Then draw a straight line between your content and your best prospects. To get the train moving, here are three ways ecommerce marketing teams can produce effective content that will help build the brand and boost bottom line sales.

3 Paths to Effective Storytelling for Your Brand

It’s important that everyone in the routing procedure, from the writer to the final manager, gets and shares the same vision. This begins with an agreement on the most important audience and the concerns of that audience. Use these three suggestions to launch the discussion.

1. Make it easy to imagine the (better) future your products offer.

There are plenty of reasons why someone might want to buy your products instead of ordering from the competition, but those reasons have less to do with features and benefits than they do with the experience a customer is hoping to create or avoid.

Get a firm fix on the job your customer is hiring your products to do. Then make the solution clear. Show your prospects how reliable, affordable, durable, fast-acting, comfortable – or whatever it is your product does for buyers – actually is. Show them what those things will mean for them. Whatever your product does to change the customer’s experience and make the customer’s life better… write about that.

Subject every approval to this litmus test: do all copy, photos, and videos supporting your products make it easy to see how awesome life can be with your products? If not, keep focusing until they do. Your aim is to bridge the gap between your products and your best prospects’ goals.

2. Don’t tell your brand story, tell your customer’s story.

Brand story and customer story are the same. Any authentic brand story is the one told by your customers about an experience they’ve had with one of your products.

Think about a surfer getting covered up in a perfectly shaped wave off the coast of Brazil, or a rock climber making it higher than ever on a challenging route. Your product is there, but the story isn’t about your brand. The story is about the experience. It’s about the job well done. Brand story and customer story are the same.

The job of ecommerce content marketing is to align the brand stories you tell with the stories your customer will be telling down the line. Illustrate the problems solved, along with the opportunities and experiences created. Don’t let the “make the logo bigger” mindset take over your content. Say less about the brand and more about what your brand makes possible for your customers.

3. Let your customers share the details for you.

Reviews, feedback, questions, photos, and videos from your current customers will all say more to your potential customers than you ever could. Ask them to tell others, in their own words, what it is about your brand that makes life better for them. Prospects will believe them a whole lot quicker than they’ll believe you.

Your blog or website should not only be a platform for you to speak from, but a place where your customers can share the adventures, fun, relaxation, struggles, and victories your brand has helped them to and through. Don’t limit the conversation to the “shiny happy people approach” to product promotion, though. That can kill credibility.

A little negative feedback keeps it real and believable. Besides, Jane75’s negative viewpoint may or may not be important to SurferDude.

Even an unhappy customer is engaging with your brand. Let go of the need for everything to be wonderful. Weed out the trolls, but allow legitimate customer stories, questions, and even complaints to round out your content.

Ecommerce Content Marketing: Where to Go from Here

You may have noticed that the three paths we discussed all lead to the same destination. Every effective ecommerce content marketing method does the same thing. In essence, the suggestions given are checkpoints. Like the security line at the airport, they make sure everything that passes through is a qualified and justified part of the journey.

Develop your ecommerce content marketing strategy with your best prospects in mind. Help them visualize how your products will make their lives better. Invite them to participate in creating the brand story. And don’t forget to look closely at your approval process. Make sure everyone in the routing sequence is solidly in support of the mission and the method. Final approval should be based on the content’s suitability for the agreed-on strategy.

If you need help, schedule a landing page assessment. We can help you identify some opportunities for next steps.

About the author: David Hoos is Marketing Manager at The Good, conversion rate experts who deliver more revenues, customers, and leads. David and the team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see online revenue double through their conversion rate optimization services.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks David,

    Some very useful tips in this article. In particular, the part about getting a firm fix on what our customer wants and showing them how we do that for them.
    “Bridge the gap between your products and your best prospects goals.”

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