The power of content in driving e-commerce sales is uncontested. Unique and powerful content can vastly improve your brand credibility, build consumer trust, inspire customer loyalty – the list goes on. But in the current milieu of multiple content formats and cluttered content pieces, how do you know what content types can drive sales for your e-commerce business? Let’s find out.
Top 5 Types of Content to Generate Sales
Marketing god Seth Godin said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” Interesting content, backed by a well-planned content marketing strategy, can help your e-commerce business develop these relations, weave interesting stories, and create magic.
But it is important that you choose the right type of content to tell your story. So, what kind of content can help you achieve your goal of driving up sales?
Here are the top five types of content that can convert online traffic into sales leads:
1. User Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) is perhaps one of the most potent weapons in your content marketing arsenal. Consider this – website product pages that featured user-generated content registered a 29% increase in conversion rates of online purchases. That’s a pretty good upswing.
Here is a post by ASOS – using a post by a customer who bought one of their products.
UGC helps establish brand reliability using the most credible source of information for new customers. It also helps in spreading brand awareness through word-of-mouth. You can build a loyal community of followers for your e-commerce brand using user-generated content. By making customers a part of your brand journey, you can establish a trusting relationship with them which can further help your bottom line and improve your customer acquisition.
You can utilise user-generated content in your email campaigns, in the review section of your product listing/page, on your social media, and just about anywhere.
Thanks to numerous social media platforms, sourcing UGC has become easier than ever before. You can curate and create a wealth of UGC to use as a part of your content marketing strategy anytime.
Pro Tip: Actively encourage your customers to share their experiences with you, even if you are a well-established brand. UGC is an inexpensive, scalable, and high-yielding form of content that can work wonders for your e-commerce business. You don’t want to miss out on this.
2. Branded Product Guides
Today’s customers are not just looking to buy a product, they are carefully considering value. They put in hours of research before zeroing in on a purchase. Why not give the customer what they seek in the form of a branded product guide?
For one, these guides will enhance your brand awareness. It’ll also help your customers easily navigate the research stage of the sales funnel while positioning your product as the best resolution for their needs. You can also tactfully include user-generated content in the review section of your product guide, as a testimonial, to gain customer trust.
On the whole, you can deliver added value to your prospects by providing them with branded product guides.
Pro Tip: Be thorough with the content in your product guide. But also remember to make it interesting and appealing to your customers. They are not going to spend an enormous amount of time reading through your product guide if you drone on about the features. To make your product guide attractive, you can consider going with a video format. It is interactive, fun, and has a better retention value.
3. Content that Showcases Community Support
Here is an example of a post by Nike on their Instagram account.
Do not shy away from showcasing the humanitarian side of your e-commerce business. Instead, you should consider actively highlighting it since it helps build a positive brand association. Customers show a discernible preference for responsible and ethical brands. In fact, 55% of online consumers are happy to pay more for brands that have a social mission or work towards social, ethical, and environmental causes.
But remember to invest in an ethical commitment only if you genuinely care. Putting up a socio-environmentally conscious front just to attract customers will not work. Customers can see through it and it might come off as phony. So create ethical content that is well-aligned with your brand voice and identity.
On the other hand, if you’re genuinely dedicated to a cause, your customers will appreciate you for it.
Having a humane side to your brand image also helps in establishing a sense of authenticity that most customers appreciate.
Ethical and community-based content is also naturally very engaging and keeps your customers hooked.
But, you don’t always have to do something big. Begin by involving yourself in smaller, more manageable commitments. You can always maximize your ethical efforts as your business grows.
Pro Tip: Encourage your customers to get involved and contribute towards social causes that you support. This way you establish an excellent rapport with your customer and also inspire customer loyalty.
4. Social Stories
No doubt that content marketing is not complete without social content, especially ephemeral content. Ever since the introduction of short-lived content in 2011 (on Picaboo, the older version of Snapchat), it has had a massive fan following. Currently, there are 500 million daily active Instagram and Facebook story users.
You can use this popular content format to sell your products on social platforms. Since these platforms are highly democratic, work on offering exclusivity to loyal customers. Think exclusive previews of new launches, contests, limited period offers or sales using social stories.
While social stories are short-lived, they enhance brand visibility, drive user engagement, and create the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in your customers, making them convert faster than other traditional content formats.
In addition, it is very easy to create, post, and schedule social stories. There are many applications that can help you sort out your content, suggest engagement ideas, and help you enhance your social stories. You also get measurable results without investing an exorbitant amount of time, effort, and money.
Pro Tip: When posting social stories, choose your social media platform with care and stick to a schedule. Consistency, without overwhelming your audience, is key to the success of ephemeral content.
5. Shoppable Content
Unfamiliar with the term shoppable content? Well, it is content that allows customers to directly add products they like to cart or takes them to the product page where they can make a purchase. It gives customers what they want, right there and then. Little wonder then that the popularity of shoppable content has grown exponentially.
There are many reasons why you should consider creating shoppable content. Some of them are listed below:
- It makes shopping an easy, fast, and effortless experience
- It allows you to showcase and sell more than one product in related categories
- You can easily measure your conversion rates
- It helps in quick product discovery
- It offers an easy-breezy UX that customers enjoy
Given that social media has 3.78 billion daily active users, shoppable content offers an opportunity for massive customer outreach. So, consider using shoppable content to convert a browsing user into a paying customer for your e-commerce business.
Pro Tip: There can be shoppable posts, ads, articles, pins, and videos. Choose the format of your shoppable content in accordance with the social media platform of your choice to maximize sales. Customisation is key and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work here.
Bonus: Interactive Content
A great way to amplify your content to drive sales is to make your content interactive. Instead of a one-way conversation, interactive content allows your customer to interact with you, giving you plenty of insights and leads.
It could be as elaborate as hosting a live session on Instagram or Facebook, playing a simple quiz, having a website widget, etc.
At a time when consumers are inundated with various types of content, interactive content can become the key differentiator for your brand.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that good visual interactive content can result in a 70% conversion rate! Isn’t that incredible?
Interactive content always works because it involves your customers at a very personal level. They feel invested in what you have to say and therefore stay on your page longer. And that makes all the difference.
Now that you know which types of content sells, let’s discuss some of the major hurdles you might encounter while creating content and how to overcome them.
What are the Major Roadblocks in E-commerce Content Creation?
Despite its verifiable contribution to the success of e-commerce, content is often overlooked or dismissed in strategy. That alone is one of the biggest challenges of e-commerce content creation. But what else stands in the way of e-commerce content creation? Quite a lot.
1. Not Knowing Your Customer
If you do not know your customers well, you will have no idea of the kind of content that will click with them. Consequently, you’ll be unable to reach your ideal customer. In the long term, this can prove to be an expensive mistake for any e-commerce venture.
Therefore, know your customers inside out. Create a Customer 360 and match your unique offerings to your customers’ pain points. This way, you’ll be able to create stellar content that tells your customers exactly what they want to hear. And content that convinces your customers to hear what you have to say, will also speed up their conversion into paying customers.
2. Not Have a Content Marketing Strategy
Good content does not happen by accident. It takes time, research, and development. You must extensively split test your content to understand what’s working and what is not. With a solid content marketing strategy in place, you can get all of it done effortlessly.
A good content marketing strategy helps you:
- Drive desired traffic to your website/product listing
- Spread and enhance your brand awareness
- Increase your customer outreach
- Bridge the gaps in sales and digital marketing funnels
- Convert your visitors into paying customers
- Nurture leads in any part of the sales funnel
- Improve brand recall
Content marketing is a powerful tool at your disposal. So, make the most of it. Have a strong content marketing strategy that is focused on driving sales. Hire a team if you need expert assistance. You most likely will. Every penny you invest in churning out good content will be well worth the investment.
3. Not Creating Quality Content
All this while we have been talking about content. But simply creating content isn’t enough. One of the major mistakes marketers make is creating content that lacks focus.
Content can only show desired results if it is accessible, discernible, and appealing to your customers. Therefore, just creating content without caring for quality will not help you achieve your goals.
Incorporate SEO best practices, accuracy, value, and perfect your oeuvre until your content strikes the right chord with your prospects/customers.
You must also know when to scale up or scale down the volume of your published content. For example, you cannot bombard your customers with social stories in a very short span of time. They will lose interest in your brand or get annoyed with it. Similarly, do not go raving about your welfare initiatives all the time. Pick the right time. Content marketing, like life, benefits from good timing.
How to Create a Content Strategy That Drives ROI
Where there is a roadblock, there is also a way to overcome the roadblock. Let’s get cracking on how you can come up with a content strategy that delivers a great return on investment.
Step 1: Create a Buyer Persona for Your Target Audience
A target buyer persona will help you align your marketing goals with your content marketing strategy. Buyer personas help in market segmentation, in turn helping you create unique content that drives conversions in a specific demographic of customers.
After all, targeted content is the only content that converts.
You can create anywhere between three to five buyer personas for your e-commerce business and work on developing content around these prototypes.
Step 2: Find Out How Your Audience Interacts With Content
You need to know which channels your customers prefer to be able to publish content that reaches them. For example, if your target demographic does not use Instagram or Facebook, you will not have much use for social stories. On the other hand, you can plug in user-generated content just about anywhere to reach your audience.
Create content that is easy to consume on channels your customers prefer. And whatever platform you decide to go with, remember to keep your content engaging.
Step 3: Research, Research, Research
Like we mentioned before, your customers want value. So, do intensive research before publishing content. Make sure you know what you’re talking about and can sufficiently defend your claims.
Well-researched content adds a sense of validation to your brand and therefore inspires the trust of consumers.
While researching, remember to learn as much as you can about your customers as well. Researching customer habits is crucial to knowing their preferences and troubleshooting their problems.
Step 4: Share Content Depending Upon Where Your Buyer is in the Funnel
Every customer was once a visitor who completed the journey in your sales funnel. So, segment your content based on where a buyer is in their journey. Let me explain it this way: consider email content marketing for prospects who have shown interest in your product. But you will want to think about hosting a social media contest for your returning buyers.
You cannot use the same content to appeal to future prospects and satiate your old customers too.
Publish content that appeals to your customers in whatever stage of the journey they’re in. That’s where the trick lies.
Step 5: Analyze Your Results
Only then will you understand what has worked in your favour and what hasn’t. Having a dependable content strategy is the outcome of testing multiple formulas. It takes trials. Do not aim for perfection right at the beginning.
Instead, measure your results in terms of KPIs and then rightsize your content strategy accordingly.
Step 6: Ask Your Customers for Their Opinion
Always seek customer feedback. Without fail. The customer is king and you must listen.
Remember how we discussed user-generated content?
Customer reviews are an integral part of user-generated content. So, leverage it to drive tangible results with your content strategy.
Because in a saturated marketplace, you cannot force-feed content to your customers. Instead, give them only as much as is needed to keep them engaged and interested.
Good content will lead to social sharing and add more prospects to your pipeline.
Bad content on the contrary will drive your customers away.
Create Content that Helps You Build a Community
In the end, what matters is what you take away from this blog and how you implement it.
If you find the ideas overwhelming, take your time. Never rush your content strategy. A badly executed content plan is just as bad as not having one at all. In fact, it’s probably worse.
If you’re keen on correctly utilizing content to drive sales for your business, I have one last thing to share. My biggest advice to you would be to know when to play your cards.
The purpose behind content marketing is to create content that helps build a community of loyal customers for your e-commerce brand. A community that grows with each passing day. So focus on community building. Make your content count.
Be simple. Be effective. Be relevant. Do not go overboard – you will be golden.