I know, I know, you’re an eCommerce business owner. You’re not a copywriter. An SEOer (only God know’s what it is they do). And for the love of all that is good and righteous, if you hear one more thing about content marketing you’re going to explode.
I feel your frustration.
But it doesn’t matter.
Because the fact is, if you’re a small eCommerce business, unless you have a nice, healthy advertising budget, content marketing is your only real way to get in front of the eyes of your audience en-masse.
But the benefits far out-way the cost. Let me explain…
…by consistently providing valuable free content, you let your prospects get acquainted with your brand and your products in a low risk way, while building trust. Well executed content marketing allows you to offer a more in-depth and richer brand experience, while drawing your prospects deeper into your sales funnel. And if you get it right, quickly helps you turn likes into customers, and customers into fans. And let’s not forget all the SEO benefits you can enjoy from content marketing when done right.
Many new eCommerce business owners go about their eCommerce marketing in a haphazard way. They take the spaghetti and wall approach. And their bank accounts remain empty as they wait to see what sticks.
I’m here to save you some time, pain, and profit.
Keep reading to discover the key elements you need in your eCommerce marketing strategy and execution, if you want to stand any chance of making an impact in 2014.
6 must have elements for your e-commerce marketing strategy in 2014
1. Embrace video. Do it now.
Not every product can be fully explained and presented in a flat image. Some products really come to life when you see them in motion, in action. If you sell a product that requires some explanation of the features, and of course the benefits, then adding an explainer video to your sales pages, is a no brainer.
Yes, it will take some time and financial investment, but if you want to compete in this crowded eCommerce space, you’re going to have to go the extra mile.
While this content is free, is works as both an educational asset (less questions t0 your support desk), and helps to give your brand even more trust and credibility.
2. Have a FAQ page. Otherwise, spend the first three hours of each day answering the same question… in triplicate
Don’t be that store owner who forgets to include a FAQ section somewhere on their website, that is unless you like answering the same question, again, and again, and… As lazy and impatient as us net surfers apparently are, when genuinely interested in a product we will take a look around your site to see if you have an FAQ section if we have additional questions.
But wait…ohhh…you don’t have one?
So now, I have to email you and unless you get back to me instantaneously, when you do finally get back to me, my finger – which had previously hovering over your buy now button – will be wholly occupied doing something else.
Have a FAQ page, but be creative about it. Think about how you can use your FAQ page to build on your overall brand messaging and customer experience. Ask yourself questions like, “how can I make my FAQ a further opportunity to really communicate with my people?
3. Don’t skimp on the images. But don’t plagiarise them either
There’s no getting away from the fact that people like pretty pictures. We’re an aesthetically minded species, and how things look, actually does matter.
As an eCommerce business selling physical a product, this presents a perfect opportunity for you to give your prospects and social media followers a wonderful visual experience with your brand.
Spend the time to have custom images created for your blog posts. Optimise your images for Pinterest. Get busy creating that custom graphic just for Facebook, because the bottom line is, the days when you could get away with some shabby stock image, are over! Pay for high quality images if need be, companies like, this, this and this, all supply great images for reasonable prices.
Not sure how to turn your brand into a visual feast for the senses? Get on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, and look at what the businesses with biggest and most engaged followings are doing. They don’t even have to be in your industry. What you’re looking for is commonality in strategy, and as consumers are so visually lead, I bet you’ll find going heavy and high-end on the images, is one of them!
4. Know what you’re trying to achieve. Have S.M.A.R.T. goals
This means real, measurable, time limited goals, designed to grow sales, increase registered users and boost your growth profit margin. Anything else is a waste of time.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to do that is to decide to position yourself as a an authority in at least one particular area of your niche. Take the time (and budget if necessary) to focus on creating exceptional content that answers the questions, fears and apprehensions your ideal customer has.
Where possible, aim to become to go to guy in your industry, the thought-leader, trailblazer and trusted advisor. When you become crystal clear about how your content ties into your overall business objectives, you’re then able to set benchmarks and deadlines that are S.M.A.R.T, and keep you focused and motivated.
5. Know your audience as well as you know yourself ( actually, better!)
Let me give you a heads up. If you don’t have an intimate knowledge of your target audience, the people who are going to take out their hard earned cash, and give it to you…you’re screwed.
The only way to make sure you are serving up products, messaging, product descriptions and social engagement that really resonates with your target audience… is to do your research.
So many eCommerce business owners neglect this crucial part of the business as they get caught up in web design and warehouse space.
Spend time on the blogs and forums your target buyer hang out at. Learn their language, pain points and frustrations.
Listen to podcasts
Give away products for review
Basically, everything in your power to get your hands on as much information and target market data as you can. And here’s why…
…it’s that intimate knowledge of your ideal buyer that will give you the edge over your competition. While their branding is bland, and their product descriptions copied straight from the manufacturers website. With your in depth knowledge of your buyer, you’ll be able to deliver a product range with the right visual imagery and, the right words, to hit a home run.
If you don’t already have a clear idea of your target customer, then take advantage of my FREE short video course and worksheet, The Ultimate Customer Avatar. With a little time investment on your part, you may discover the findings that come out of creating this profile and finally getting clear about who you are really marketing to, may change the way you do business forever!
6. Know your channels of communication, and keep them open
Social media is a beautiful thing. With just the click of a button we can share, care, and be part of online communities. However, if you’re going to include social media marketing in your eCommerce marketing strategy (and you’re crazy if you don’t), then you’re going to have go a little deeper than your average bear.
Think about all the different social and distributions channels there are? Identify a small handful (let’s say 4, just to get you started) that you can consistently contribute to, but more importantly, are where your target buyer is to be found.
Then think about all the different ways you can contribute to these marketing channels, never forgetting to keep your overall business objective in mind, which is to make your prospects: know, trust and like you…so they will buy from you.
There are no shortage of ways your brand can contribute relevant engaging content to the plethora of marketing channels out there.
Quality blog content and press releases
Guest posts and offsite article contributions
White papers and short guides
Podcasts and video marketing
Mobile applications and free training
The question you need to ask yourself is “how much of your marketing budget, and how many man hours can you dedicate to marketing your business through these distributions channels?”. While I encourage consistency, quality is better than quantity. So if you can only deliver one high quality piece of content every 10 days, this is better than flooding your followers with low value content.
So tell me?
What’s your eCommerce marketing strategy for 2014 looking like? Does it contain these elements? Have you come to the same realisation, and already put your new strategy in motion?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these strategies, and the successes, or indeed failures, you may be experiencing with them.
If we’re not friends on social media, I’d love if you came over and said hi – you’ll find my buttons on the right. Want more content like this? join my mailing list so you don’t miss a post.
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