The Basics of eCommerce Content Marketing, and Why a Content Marketing Strategy Matters

Team creating a content marketing strategy that encompasses multiple channels

It’s probably one of the biggest marketing buzzwords of the last decade. But in reality, it’s been around for much longer than that. Content marketing is, in many ways, the engine that can make all of your digital marketing efforts thrive.

To get there, you need a strong content marketing strategy. But before you even get to that point, you need to understand both content marketing basics and some of the most common marketing methods available to marketers and online store owners today. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

First Things First: What Is Content Marketing?

We’ll begin with a straightforward definition, courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Every discussion of content marketing basics should begin with this definition. Technically, every bit of text or visual you push to your audience of prospective and current customers is content. But according to this definition, the content has to fit three basic criteria to be considered content marketing:

  1. Value, providing a tangible benefit to your audience that goes beyond simply promoting your products
  2. Relevance, focusing the value that the content provides on active customer needs and pain points
  3. Consistency, which connects different pieces of content (like blog posts, social media updates, and videos) into a larger and overarching narrative

So, only content that hits all three of these criteria can rightfully be considered part of content marketing. A content marketing strategy helps you build a multi-channel approach designed to leverage all of the potential benefits content marketing has to offer in promoting your online store.

5 Core Benefits of Content Marketing in eCommerce

Content marketing has been around for nearly 300 years for a reason. It’s one of the oldest current forms of promotion because it recognizes the benefits that adding relevant and consistent value for your audience can bring. You build trust and establish a permanent space in your potential customers’ brains so that they’ll remember you when they’re ready to make a purchase.

More specifically, content marketing carries five distinct benefits that are especially relevant for online store owners and eCommerce brands:

1. Content marketing brings potential customers to you.

It’s closely connected to search engine optimization, as keyword-optimized web content can play a core part in your strategy. More importantly, building relevant content on your blog can lead to potential customers seeking you out when they’re researching product options in your niche.

2. Content marketing establishes credibility and authority.

Value-adding content can go a long way toward building your authority in your industry or niche. If your audience realizes that you’re not just trying to sell products, they’ll look for your content to deepen their understanding of a topic related to your business model.

3. Content marketing brings immense potential cost savings.

According to some estimates, content marketing costs over 60% less than traditional advertising. That makes intuitive sense. If you can build content that your audience actually looks for, you will need to spend less pushing promotional messages their way.

4. Content marketing increases website and online store visits.

More than 50% of content marketers say that their main source of website traffic comes from organic search traffic. Because of the above-mentioned SEO connection, it can become a core traffic driver to your online store.

5. Content marketing increases customer lifetime value.

The value of this tactic doesn’t stop once a new customer buys from you. You can now continue to push content their way, keeping your brand and business top of mind for the inevitable time when they’ll need a product like yours again.

Of course, you need a well-developed content marketing strategy to leverage these benefits. Then that strategy, in turn, starts with careful consideration and evaluation of all potential content marketing methods.

Content Marketing Methods and Types That Drive Success

A successful content marketing strategy is an ecosystem of a variety of channels. Most of the methods you’ll use will interconnect in trying to reach and engage your audience.

For example, you may publish a ‘state of the industry’ or trends report for products like yours that lives as a free lead magnet behind a sign-up form on your website. This piece can now become the baseline for:

  • Several blog posts
  • Email newsletter items
  • Social media posts

All of them can push to the core report for more information.

But content marketing can take on other shapes, as well. Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular in trying to engage audiences and develop thought leadership. Product how-to guides and tutorials can engage current customers and improve the chances they’ll love their purchase. Live video product launches and demonstrations have become especially popular in recent years.

Infographics, videos, checklists, and even user-generated content can all become part of your content marketing efforts. But with a menu this broad, developing the right content marketing strategy becomes key.

How to Get Started With a Content Marketing Strategy

Marketing team starting to develop their content marketing strategy

With the basics and benefits of the concept out of the way, it’s time to get practical. Content marketing is complex, but a few steps can help you get started:

1. Define your audience.

That includes not just knowing their location and demographics but also their motivations and pain points. The more in-depth you know them, the better you can build content specifically designed for them.

2. Find your expertise niche.

How can your content separate you from your direct competitors? What is unique about your background or the products you sell? Try to translate the answer into content matching their needs that they won’t find anywhere else.

3. Research topics and keywords.

See what has already been published and where you can jump into a niche. Then, match your insights with the keywords and phrases your audience typically searches for when looking for answers to their questions.

4. Outline your goals.

Write down exactly what you want to achieve through content marketing, from increased brand awareness to increased store visits or purchases. Don’t worry—you can refine these goals over time as you get more comfortable with your strategy.

5. Set a content schedule.

That includes how often you want to publish core pieces like those in-depth lead magnets mentioned above and how often you can promote them on social media. Planning ahead makes developing a significant amount of written and visual content much more palatable.

6. Set up your infrastructure.

Make sure your email newsletter, social media channels, website, and other channels are prepared for a comprehensive content marketing effort.

That last step matters, especially when it comes to your website. You have to have the foundation in place to publish relevant and engaging content that goes beyond straightforward promotions of your products. And that’s where we can help.

Future Holidays can help you build an online store and website designed for sales. That includes the right infrastructure for content marketing, specifically optimized for the eCommerce industry. Ready to get started? Get in touch with us today.