Is Content Marketing Worth It?
There is, perhaps, nothing more important when increasing the success of your online Shopify or other ecommerce business, than content marketing. You may hire a Shopify marketing agency to do the work for you, which in some cases, is your best bet. Or, you can take the harder, some might say more rewarding path, and do the work yourself. Whatever you decide, content marketing is a critical part of your content strategy.
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of content to stimulate interest in products and services. At least, that’s what it is for brand owners working from an area of self-interest.
See, that’s where most content marketing goes wrong––the content reads and feels gimmicky, like it’s trying to promote something. Most people can see through that, and while it may not deter someone from buying your product, it doesn’t do a lot to build trust. This is particularly true if content is inconsistent in voice, timing, or position.
YOU NEED A CONTENT STRATEGY
Creating content is a vital strategy for online business owners, but it has no value unless someone is reading it. That’s why content marketing must also be a part of your overall content strategy.
A comprehensive content strategy has six parts: planning, research, creation, optimization, delivery/sharing, and governance. You can squeak by just worrying about creation and delivery, but without planning, proper research, and governance, you’ll be building a rather weak enterprise that may not deliver the results you want.
BENEFITS OF CONTENT MARKETING
It Helps Your Customer
We mention this one right up front because it should be the key reason why you’re creating content. Engaging your audience because you want to help doesn’t mean you aren’t interested in generating leads and turning a profit. But you understand that to accomplish those goals, you need to give your customers something first. They’re not just going to turn up, offering to give you their money without you inviting them. So, invite them by acknowledging their pain points, exploring ideas, educating them with relevant information, encouraging their autonomy, and reassuring them of their personal power when it comes to buying.
Knowing their pain points requires you to research what relevant questions and complaints people have about products and services in your niche. Random, uninformed topics may elicit some interest, but to be properly helpful, you have to be strategic about what information you’re offering. If a customer is frustrated because they don’t know if magnesium bisglycinate or magnesium citrate is the better choice, you’re not going to write an article on the benefits of gelatin capsules for nutritional supplements. Simply put, if they want good coffee, give them good coffee, not the instant, freeze-dried variety.
Keep in mind, content that helps your customer is not a dangling carrot. Instead, it’s an honest, from-the-heart approach to connecting with your customer. If it leads them to buy, fantastic. If not, then you can rest assured knowing that you’ve helped someone out––and that always has a resonating effect.
It Builds Trust
Trust is what builds the relationships you have with your customers, and that takes time to establish. Trust keeps them coming back to your brand, again and again. Trust prompts them to recommend your brand to a friend or colleague.
How do you grow trust? McKinsey & Company suggest that consistency should be the primary concern for any business owner (1). People trust what they know is reliable, and reliability is established when you’re able to meet their needs.
Planning your content is a fundamental trust-building method because it helps you to remain consistent each week or each month––throughout your entire content marketing schedule. Planning establishes a journey that leads your customer from the initial acquaintance stage of the relationship, through to commitment, which enables them to return to your brand again and again.
Planning involves interlinking to other relevant articles on your site, products that will answer their needs, and linking to other reputable sources of information. Planning makes their journey with your brand easy, accessible, and enjoyable––and that builds trust.
It Grows Your Brand’s Presence
Potential customers can’t buy your product or service unless they know it exists. Content marketing is the number one way to increase brand awareness in the right community, and video content creation and marketing is one of the best ways to build brand awareness. It lets potential customers know quickly and directly what you’re selling and what your brand is about. Written content creation is essential too, but you must be regular and frequent to keep your brand at the forefront of your customer’s mind. There is too much competition to put in only half the effort.
Building an online community is another effective way to increase awareness of your brand. You can accomplish this through the creation of a branded community, in which you control the collection and management of data through your website, as well as by influencing your social community through social media platforms. Building a social community requires regular information sharing and governance.
It Improves SEO
Content marketing is a big part of SEO. In addition to backlinking, web analytics, and competitor and keyword research, you want to optimize your expert content. SEO optimization involves more than just throwing in a few keywords and calling it a day. Keyword density, strategic keyword placement, interlinking silo structures (see below), H1 tags, and meta descriptions are more than just important considerations––they’re imperatives.
It Generates Leads & Drive Sales
Blogs, articles, guides, white papers, e-books, or email series are prime places to make your offer. Include CTAs in your content, when it’s appropriate––when your content naturally encourages the reader to take the next logical step: to a product page, a related article, or a download, for example.
A CTA isn’t an immediate push to buy. That would be like asking for marriage on the first date. Organic CTAs require that you understand your customer, know what they want, and are able to take them on a journey. Again, this involves helping your customer and building trust––it always comes back to that––and planning the buyer’s journey. When a customer likes what they read, they’ll be more inclined to purchase your product or service offering, either immediately if that’s right for them, or eventually through regular engagement with your brand.
It Supports Business Growth & Expansion
Obviously this is your primary goal. To accomplish this, you have to have all of the above: customers that trust you, brand presence in your niche, and progress in sales. But as we’ve experienced in most facets of life, business, and workouts, getting there is merely the first step. The real work is in maintaining and continually striving to improve, even when you’ve already reached your initial goal.
An effective content strategy is constantly adapted to meet customer inquiries, changes in the industry, and updates to SEO strategy. It means managing your past content and linking it to future content creation.
A Final But Critical Consideration...
The biggest question mark in all of this, as it is in any great sounding theory is how. How should you market all that great content you created?
An email campaign is still the number one way to connect with your customer. Ask you readers to subscribe to your site. Then, keep them engaged with regular updates, info, and product promotions.
Social media sharing is becoming more and more critical these days too. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are popular platforms that allow you to develop paid-for advertising campaigns.
Like we mentioned right up front, contacting a Shopify expert may be the most effective and time-saving method for your business. If you’re not sure, give us a call to find out. We’re offering a free strategy session to help you discover your best course of action.
September 1, 2020