These days, marketing is all about content. No matter what you’re hoping to sell, you’re not going to be able to do it without putting some serious thought into the digital content that’s going to draw your ideal prospects to you and convert them to paying customers.
How content draws visitors to your site
Quality content, distributed strategically across the internet, can act like a magnet to attract your ideal customer to your online store.
- SEO - Statistics indicate that 44% of all online purchases begin with a search engine query. That equates nearly $127 billion worth of retail purchases in 2014 alone, and that number is expected to reach $182 billion by 2018. What allows your store to show up near the top of organic search results? Strategic content, optimized for search.
- Social – One of the most powerful content sharing and traffic generating channels available to online retailers over the last few years has been the incredibly popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. All these networks provide opportunities for stores to generate both organic and paid traffic that can be highly targeted. Pinterest in particular, with its addictive and highly visual interface and lightning-fast traffic conversion, has proven to be a goldmine for online retailers who know how to capitalize on visual content.
- PPC Ads – Although not generally as effective as comparable organic search or social, the PPC ad opportunities available on search engines and all the major social networks add another layer of targeting options as well as instant visibility that can’t usually be achieved organically. A well-written, attention-grabbing ad combined with a strategically planned landing page can pack a powerful one-two punch that will result in sales.
- Native Ads – While these advertising opportunities require even more forethought and design to pull off effectively, when it’s done right, native ads on social sites and other complementary websites can achieve incredible conversion rates. Again, coupling them with a powerful landing page is key to turning traffic into sales.
How content converts visitors into customers
Sometimes, when a visitor comes to your online store, they’ve got their card out and they’re ready to buy; but not always. Not even most of the time, actually. Instead, most visitors are looking for information. They want to learn about how your products can fill their needs or desires. They don’t really want to be sold, they want to make an informed decision on their own.
The content you provide them with is the only way you can influence this aspect of the online buying journey. By proactively filling your site with valuable content that answers shoppers’ questions, identifies their pain points, and subtly encourages them to view your products in a favorable light, you can provide value and help to visitors who may not yet be ready to buy.
Taking it a step further, offering a Wish List function can allow visitors to engage with the site by setting aside products they may be interested in down the road. This gives you a priceless connection to that individual and deep insight into what they’re looking to purchase.
To accomplish these purposes, the content on your site needs to be well-written, presented in an appealing way, and always relevant with a focus squarely on the customer and not on you. Whether they actually buy on that initial visit or not, if you’ve provided them with valuable information and taught them everything they need to know to make an informed decision about your products, there’s an excellent chance they’ll be back to buy later on.
How content helps to boost sales and profit
Once a visitor becomes a customer – or even just an active shopper – another exciting content opportunity presents itself.
With the help of powerful yet simple additions to your online store, you can automatically generate offers that are personalized to that individual based on their past and present shopping behavior. For example, an ecommerce recommendation tool can seamlessly integrate into your platform and offer personalized retail product recommendations that can instantly upsell, cross sell, or suggest complementary products that will likely appeal to that individual’s tastes.
As the visitor continues to engage with the site, the software gets smarter, and more effectively personalized content can be displayed. It works very much like a skilled retail salesperson who gets to know their customer and offer specific things they know they will like.
These are just a few ways that content can be used to attract and convert customers for higher online retail sales. For more information, including how to use well-crafted emails to regenerate sales that have been abandoned, download our free eBook, The Mystery of Shopping Cart Abandonment.