Content… is it really the King of the digital marketing world? Nick Bendel looks at how online retailers can boost their rankings through content marketing.
Content marketing – or using writing to publicise your business – is a form of marketing that every online retailer should do, even sole traders.
The mistake a lot of online retailers make is to think of content marketing as an expense. It’s not – it’s an investment in your future profits. That’s why your rivals do it.
A strategic, well-planned content marketing program will help your online retail business do five things:
- Generate more enquiries
- Convert more enquiries
- Establish yourself as an expert
- Boost your Google ranking
- Bait and hook referral partners
Generate More Enquiries
Imagine a hypothetical consumer wants to buy an exercise bike. So they do a Google search for “Buy exercise bike online”. Three businesses pop up. The first website has almost no content. The second has more content, but it hasn’t been updated for a long time. The third is packed with relevant content and it gets updated regularly.
Which business would the consumer choose?
If you’re like most people, you’d instinctively choose the third online retailer.
Funnily enough, the third retailer might be the worst of the bunch. But our unconscious brain assumes that if it’s got the most interesting content, it must be the most professional.
Convert More Enquiries
Content marketing doesn’t just generate more enquiries; it also converts more of them into sales.
Most people would agree that the third online retailer would receive more enquiries than the other two. But imagine our hypothetical consumer decides to be thorough and request more information from all three businesses. Before the consumer makes contact, their unconscious brain has already concluded that the third online retailer is professional, the first is amateur and the second is somewhere in the middle.
Given those preconceptions, which retailer is likely to sound most credible? And whose prices are least likely to questioned?
Thanks to its high-quality content marketing, retailer three is going to find it easier to win the business and justify its prices.
Establish Yourself as an Expert
Now imagine our consumer meets the owners of all three online retailers at a party. The first spends the night hiding in a corner, so is barely seen. The second one is visible but doesn’t say much. The third one stands in the centre of the room and talks constantly about health, fitness and workout routines.
Which owner would seem most knowledgeable and passionate about exercise bikes?
Businesses that pump out relevant, high-quality content are perceived as experts. Businesses that stay silent are easily overlooked.
Boost Your Google Ranking
As a general rule, the more relevant, quality content you publish on your website, the higher it will rank in Google search results.
The two important words here are ‘relevant’ and ‘quality’. If you sell exercise bikes, it makes no sense to fill your website with articles about Donald Trump or Lady Gaga. You need to write about matters related to exercise bikes, such as health, fitness and equipment. You also need to ensure the content is well-written, otherwise, Google will conclude your website is less important and deserves a lower ranking.
Bait and Hook Referral Partners
A lot of online retailers know some or all of the first four points – but few realise that you can also use content marketing to build referral relationships.
Here’s what you do. First, identify a potential referrer that could help your business – for example, our exercise bike retailer might want to target a gym owner. Second, think of a way to quote the referrer in one of your articles – ‘The top 5 reasons to join a spin class’, for instance. Third, pitch the idea to the referrer.
Now that you’ve broken the ice and done them a favour (by giving them free publicity), you’ve given yourself a chance of turning them into a long-term referral partner.