Retailers are increasingly seeing and taking advantage of the power of content marketing, but small inefficiencies and poor strategic choices can compromise your results. In practice, content marketing is designed to provide value to potential consumers. Informative and/or entertaining articles, videos, and audio content can increase the visibility of your brand, improve your reputation, and even give you more opportunities to finalize sales.
However, too many retailers pursue content marketing almost impulsively, failing to think through the decisions that could make or break their success.
So what steps can retailers take to improve their content marketing?
Be as Specific as Possible
First, try to be as specific as possible. This applies to the audience you’re choosing, the types of products you’re writing about, and even the broad direction of your piece. For example, let’s say you have a generic article about “How to buy a bike.” You can make this more specific in several ways, with directions like, “How to buy a used bike,” or “How to buy a first bike for a 5-year-old,” or “How to buy a road bike for racing.”
Specificity helps you in several ways:
- Higher relevance. Specific topics tend to seem more relevant to the people reading the articles. Being specific allows you to speak with a target demographic on an almost individual level, which can increase their loyalty and preference for your brand.
- More options. Writing about more specific topics will give you more options in the long term. If you’re sufficiently specific, you’ll never run out of new content ideas.
- Keyword optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) relies on your ability to research and target specific keywords and keyword phrases. Getting more specific in your titles and topics allows you to optimize for more target keywords.
- Limited competition. Specificity also allows you to limit your competition. Instead of dealing with hundreds, or even thousands of retailers writing about the same generic topic, you’ll forge a path of your own. If someone is looking for content like yours, specifically, they’ll have limited options to choose from.
Make Intelligent Recommendations
The best retail content attempts to make intelligent recommendations to readers, ultimately guiding them toward a purchase. Amateur retail content marketers tend to do this in a blunt way, driving customers toward purchases as soon as possible and with as many products as possible.
More developed content marketers try to optimize their content to target specific types of people in specific situations, with real advice that customers find valuable. Sometimes, you may even recommend that someone avoid making a purchase; even though it’s counter to your immediate goals, it serves to build trust.
For example, you could write an article specifically recommending gifts for groomsmen. You could make different recommendations for different types of people, and educate people on concepts like etiquette. The primary goals are to provide real, valuable advice, and speak to a specific target audience.
Optimize Your Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Your content marketing can do more work for your retail brand if you include effective calls-to-action (CTA) in the body of your work. CTAs are callouts that encourage your readers to buy a product. You’ll want to include one or a handful of CTAs, and make sure they’re relevant to the article itself and not simply shoehorned in. It’s also important not to include too many; if it seems like you’re trying too hard to sell, people won’t trust your content.
Utilize Multiple Channels
Modern retail customers have a myriad of different preferences. If you only focus on one type of content, like written articles, you stand to lose a significant portion of your potential readership. Instead, try to include a variety of different content forms, including short-form articles, long-form whitepapers, eBooks, videos, podcasts, and infographics.
Get Real Feedback
Take the time to interview your customers, in qualitative discussions or with the help of surveys. Ask them what they think about your current content development efforts, and ask them what they’d like to see from your brand in the future. You may get advice that leads you in an unexpected direction.
Measure and Analyze Your Results
Finally, make sure you’re adequately measuring and analyzing your results. Too many retailers simply assume their efforts are working. Instead, pay close attention to metrics like organic traffic, referral traffic, and conversions. Are your KPIs improving with specific types of content and remaining stagnant with others? Which variables seem to be benefitting your strategy the most?
Whether you’re operating exclusively online or you’re trying to draw in physical foot traffic, a better content marketing strategy can earn you better results. Make sure you recognize content marketing as a process—and one that should change over time—so you can keep instituting new practices to get better results.