Content marketing can be an incredibly effective medium to promote a business. Particularly, if you’re operating an eCommerce website because you’ll be operating purely online and your offline branding is less relevant — although your offline branding can also help with your SEO efforts. This means that customers will be visiting their site to buy products, goods or services.
If you can add content to your site that makes them more inclined to make a purchase, you can create a profitable marketing campaign. Below, I’ll outline some stores that take different approaches to content marketing. Each one highlights why understanding your audience is vital.
Scotts Menswear is a popular UK based ecommerce clothing store. They sell a range of fashionable clothing from brands including Adidas. Scotts have a blog set up that is used as a marketing platform. However, the way in which the blog operates isn’t intrusive or particularly apparent. Instead, Scotts operate with a subtle approach to marketing through content. The blog is run be an ex-editor of an entertainment magazine that was geared towards men. It’s fitting then that the blog has the same characteristics of a men’s mag. It has content based on film, TV, pop culture and fashion. All of which will be attractive to Scott’s target customer. Direct marketing is incredibly subtle with only the occasion link to the online shop. Usually, you’ll see the store being advertised at the bottom of each piece of content, and it is related to the subject of the article. The site is attractive, colourful and easy to access for customers. No doubt, it generates a lot of business for Scotts.
Another clothing store, but this one has taken a different approach to content marketing. Rather than producing content loosely based on the target customer, it hits the target audience directly. The majority of the content produced by this company is based around fashion and is often linked to celebrity culture. The site has the appearance of an online magazine with appealing images that are sure to draw the reader in. It uses a variety of different types of content such as Q & A’s, must have items and even short videos. The blog also features plenty of calls to action, designed to get customers onto the store page. I particularly love the collaborations between industry insiders that ensures the blog looks professional and helps build that authoritative reputation.
Furl sell extremely high-end space saving furniture. It’s target audience is consumers who live in houses where space is a premium. Almost every single customer of Furl uses them due to their genius space saving furniture, so Furl take advantage of this by creating amazing content which gives tips and ideas for their target audience. You can find content on topics like selecting the right colour schemes, space saving tips, and even advice how to choose the right fabric for living with pets. The content is shared extremely well on social media due to the perfectly targeted nature of the writing.
Last year, Reebok launched a new marketing campaign with a microblog. The campaign, titled ‘be more human', was a slightly different approach to content marketing. The whole purpose of the content was to get customers to interact with the company on different levels. Reebok provided readers with information on fitness activities and how fitness increases brain power. They also encouraged readers to participate by taking tests and uploading pictures of their workout. In many ways, this is an example of how user generated content can boost your brand. Links to the shop stores and connections from the content to the site itself were subtle and yet, incredibly effective.
Jean Paul Gaultier
JPG proved that marketing — and specifically content — doesn’t need to have a large budget to be effective. In fact, it’s possible to market to customers using content with just a few simple alterations to your site. That’s what this company was able to do and it proved to be very effective. JPG added animations and what could be seen as online gimmicks to their site homepage. These were colourful cartoons that customers could interact with. It was akin to something you occasionally find on the Google search page. That may even have been where JPG took the idea from. Rather than blasting customers with marketing, these little add-ons made the site more fun. It might have encouraged customers to stay on the site longer and make a purchase.
Unique Log Cabins
Unique Log Cabins offer a very niche product and has to appeal to a certain type of audience. Instead of trying to be creative with generating social shares, they opt for a more informative approach. A large proportion of their sales are for garden offices and one stumbling block with selecting the right garden office is whether you would need building planning permission. They created a really handy guide for their visitors advising of the steps which can be taken in order to bypass needing permission to build.
Best Buy uses content on their site in a very specific way to secure a sale. Best Buy offers customers PC guides because they understand buying a PC is a big purchase. They are often quite expensive, and customers do tend to think carefully before they make a purchase. With the best buy guide, customers are helped to make this purchase with useful information. At the same time, the customer is slowly pushed towards a sale with effective calls to action. Best Buy uses the guide to make sure that a wide variety of PCs are sold to different customers. It is a fantastic example of targeted content which helps the customer while increasing conversions. The brilliant factor here is that this isn’t just content for the sake of marketing. It will be of value to the consumer as well.
You can take the basic outline of any one of these ideas to improve the way you use content marketing in your business. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for your on-site content marketing efforts, instead you have to start understanding your target audience — only when you understand what makes them tick and what brings them to your website can you really develop a content plan. There are various content marketing strategy guides available online but my favourite has to be the Smart Insights content marketing strategy hub.
Once you are happy with your strategy, the hard work starts. You have to be confident that you can make your efforts pay-off and stick to creating the content that your visitors demand.
Matt Janaway is the CEO of Marketing Labs and a successful entrepreneur specializing in digital marketing, based in Nottingham, UK. He started his career journey during the mid-2000's internet retailing boom by developing 10+ eCommerce stores which enjoyed great success using a successful and evolving SEO formula. In 2011 these eCommerce businesses were sold and after a little break from working and alongside running his digital marketing agency, he moved into a new Head of Digital role for a leading UK retailer, managing a team of digital marketers and content writers. In 2016 he left the Head of Digital role to concentrate on his digital marketing agency full time.
To learn more about Matt, visit his website. Also, you can always catch up with him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn