As a retailer, your focus is on selling. You set up a store, let people know you’re open for business and provide a great customer experience. Many times, you’ll talk about your products and the industry while conversing with customers in your store. Or if you’re an online retailer, you’ll offer chat boxes for those browsing or making a purchase on your site. But what about those not in your store or on your website—how do you reach them? It’s simple: through content marketing. Content marketing is creating information, tips and stories (the content) and sharing that content to attract potential customers and engage them in conversation (the marketing). Aside from just reaching potential customers, here are four other reasons why retailers should invest in content marketing:
- Create a reputation for being an industry expert. Recognizing your customers’ (or potential customers’) needs and offering them answers or tips directly without asking for anything in return is called thought leadership. People love information, and if you can provide this to them for free, they will become even more loyal to your brand. And not only will they develop a stronger relationship with you, they will tell others about you as well. Content marketing works through almost any means for retailers, whether it’s blogging, social media, whitepapers, events, eBooks or something else. Expand your reach even more by adding social sharing buttons to your content—it will simplify the sharing process for your customers!
- Develop new business ideas. In-depth research and engagement of your customers will enable you to understand their challenges and what gaps you need to fill in the market. Find this engagement through content marketing. For example, if you’re an organic foods retailer, you may blog about how to eat healthier during the holidays, a time when people typically overindulge. By sharing that content and getting customers’ comments on what works and does not work for them, you can get new ideas that both you and your customers may not have realized they needed.
- Sell your products (without directly selling!). You’ve spent time building your brand’s value and trust with your customers and potential customers—and you’ve become memorable in their minds. The next time they have a need, they will think of you to fulfill it, and that’s because of your content marketing. You didn’t have to telemarket, send e-mail blasts or mail postcards to have them come to you—it was all through giving them the information they want.
- Increase the number of people searching for you. Although search engine optimization (SEO) can be complicated if you don’t know much about it, there’s one aspect that is simple to understand—the more relevant content you publish online, the more people are likely to find you. Including keywords in your content that your customers or potential customers are using increases your search ranking. This will drive traffic to your retail website, in turn, likely increasing your sales. For tips on how to improve your website’s SEO, you can check out part one and part two of our recent SEO how-to blog posts.
Now that you know content marketing is a must, check back next month for steps you, as a retailer, can create your own content marketing plan.