Marketing doesn't have to be word-class brand creating – it just has to be useful, interesting or entertaining.
We all know that people are interested in good content, not marketing messages. And even if we're still somewhat unorganized about it at times, most of marketing and communications professionals have understood this already. Many have noticed that content brings in customers and increases visibility both in search engines and the media – and thus actually boosts sales.
However, only few eCommerce managers have started to create content. Should you, and if you should, why? What special qualities does web store content marketing have? How does content make you stand out from the crowd?
People like people – also in online stores. Introduce the staff, owners, customers or product manufacturers of your web store with stories, blogs, reviews and such. Remember pictures and videos!
Image: The Jounin Kauppa store is strongly personified with the store owner, and it shows in the new web store.
Encourage giving reviews by offering prizes or the possibility to earn in-store credit. There are many kinds of reviews: you can encourage customers to give a review on your site, the journalists of your field to review in their own channel or ask for user stories. The most important thing is effortless usability and that reviewing has been made easy, fast and hopefully fun as well.
Image: In the Figleaves online store customers can easily review products with star ratings and comments.
Start using an ask and answer forum. This lowers the threshold to ask about products and increases the visibility of your site on search engines. This way you provide answers for other customers who are also pondering the same questions – and free up resources of your customer service. So in addition to the customer service, other customers can answer questions. You can also reward customers that share pictures on social media or on you site.
3. Peek behind the scenes
A sneak peek behind the scenes is always exciting. Tell about a product's background, show making-of material about building a service or introduce store life outside opening hours on your website, in newsletters or on social media.
Produce content to a channel that you like and in a way that comes naturally to you. If you feel comfortable coming closer to your customers and bringing forth your personality on social media. If you excel in practical videos that teach how to use your products, choose that. If you don't want to be in the public eye, don't be – check if there is someone in your store that would like to be. Forcing it doesn't work – it always gets noticed.
Video: Blendtec has chosen video format as their medium and YouTube as their channel and creates visibility with their "Will it blend" viral videos.
Many web stores are small businesses. Marketing doesn't have to be word-class brand creating – it just has to be useful, interesting or entertaining. For example, the previously mentioned Jounin Kauppa is known for its laid-back content.
A product card is the most valuable part of a web store, so it should be one the most important platforms for content marketing. Include as much info as possible in the product card, and also add pictures, videos, reviews and manuals. This way searches from search engines more lead directly to the product card more easily. The journey to making an actual purchase is shorter and those that are considering making a purchase are offered good content to support purchase decision.
Image: Lego Shop offers building instruction for their products.
The best content is the kind that truly helps the customer or the potential customer.FAQ's are usually the easiest content to produce for a web store manager. If it feels difficult to produce content, start with the questions you encounter frequently in customer service. Does everybody ask how to pick skis? Write a succinct blog post about the subject or shoot a video where you explain the basics step by step.
Do customers inquire about the ethicality of a product in customer chat? Provide info already on the site. You can, for instance, replace the FAQ section with informative videos.
Do you have the time to commit to content marketing? Think honestly of how much time you have to create content, and how much time it takes for you to produce for example a blog post. Choose a channel that is easy, fast and feels natural for you personally.
At best a web store can become an expert portal where both customers and bloggers create quality content that supports the web store. If you don't have time to produce content yourself, consider buying talent from a student that is interested in the subject or a blogger that is acquainted with your field.
Even though personally you wouldn't be particularly interested in social media, it can offer just the right channel for what you're offering. If you focus on just one social media channel, it never takes long to get to a level where you can use it to your advantage.
Are you familiar with Pinterest, the favorite of especially +30 women, where the focus is on fashion but also everything related to home? How about teen favorite Snapchat? If it doesn't ring a bell ask someone from the target group or find the nearest social media training provider.
Never choose a social media channel based on its overall popularity or trendiness. Every social media channel has its own special features, target groups and functions.
Image: Zalando is active on Pinterest.
Press releases are the most traditional way to do content marketing and they work especially well in creating a wide reach of awareness. Consistent, long-term PR work for the right target groups pays off, and journalists and bloggers take care of content marketing for you – at least if the content is high-quality in terms of texts and pictures, and you have spent time creating a good news hook. Remember to share content on social media and provide links to the best stories on your website. In addition to PR it is also important to follow where discussions are taking place and who are involved – and possibly join in.
The most important aspect of a web store is that it works well on all devices, all the information is available, and that everything runs smoothly. You can, however, go even further because high-quality customer service is delightful in an online environment as well – see Bellroy web store, for example.
Liana Technologies products enable versatile content marketing for web stores as well. With LianaCommerce you can create diverse possibilities to your web store from reviews to discussion forums. With LianaPress you control your press release distribution, and with LianaMonitor you can follow where and by who important discussions for you are held.
Got interested? Contact our experts!
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